Wisbech girl says thank you for new wheelchair

Sophie Clarke with her new wheelchair. Joining in the celebrations are class friends from Year 4, along with teaching assistant Nicki Payne (left), mum Mandy Seaton, and headteacher Andrew Saunders.
Sophie Clarke with her new wheelchair. Joining in the celebrations are class friends from Year 4, along with teaching assistant Nicki Payne (left), mum Mandy Seaton, and headteacher Andrew Saunders.

A Wisbech girl is getting to grips with her new electric wheelchair after the town rallied round to raise more than £8,000.

Sophie Clarke is now winning races against her parents and enjoying her newly-found independence after taking delivery of the Infacare TDX ST2 two weeks ago.

Eight-year-old Sophie requires a frame to walk after being born with cerebral palsy and dysplasia.

Her parents Mandy Seaton and Barry Clarke launched an appeal last year after being told that the NHS is unlikely to fund a wheelchair for Sophie as she does not meet the criteria

Charities, shops, organisations and individuals across the town rallied round to raise the money to help Sophie.

Her mum Miss Seaton, who suffered pre-eclampsia during her pregnancy, said: “We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who helped.

“It is was a fantastic effort and so worthwhile when you see her happy little face.

“The wheelchair has given her greater independence. She’s now holding races against us and winning!”

Sophie and her twin brother Lewis attend St Peter’s School in Wisbech.

Their headmaster, Andrew Sanders, made a sponsored parachute jump in March.

Mum Mandy, hairdresser Sharon Housden, Darren Gidney and Paula Ryan also took part in the jump.

Donations were also made by the Wisbech Dunelm and the One Stop Shop.

Wisbech Lions, Fen Ladies Darts Team, The Sunshine Club and Appleton Lodge have also supported the fundraising.

Miss Seaton said: “We are so grateful for everyone’s help.”

The new chair, which will be suitable for when Sophie starts secondary school, has a lift and rise function along with a tilt to help when she is coming downhill.

Miss Seaton said: “It’s also got lights and a hooter. Sophie likes the hooter.

“She is really enjoying having the wheelchair.

“When we go shopping, she doesn’t have to be pushed everywhere so it gives her much greater independence.

“She has now got something which will last her a long time.

“This is a really good chair and is making a big difference to Sophie’s life.”