Community activist success in regaining independence

Richard Brown as he test drives the Batac electric attached to his wheelchair NNL-161228-165525001

Richard Brown as he test drives the Batac electric attached to his wheelchair NNL-161228-165525001

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A Middle Barton man who was forced into early retirement due to ill health has raised money for a mobility aid enabling him to carry on his charitable work.

Richard Brown was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia which causes progressive damage to the nervous system, while he was still in his teens.

His need for electrified wheelchair transportation increased after moving to the village with its lack of wheelchair friendly transportation and the removal of the village’s bus service in February 2016.

Mr Brown was instrumental in reinstating the service with the introduction of OurBus Barton’s bus service.

His own personal independence, however, was still at the mercy of others so the fundraiser turned the tables and set out to raise the £8,000 for a Batec Mobility Handbike that fits directly onto most wheelchairs.

Mr Brown recently took delivery of his new mobility aid and has not looked back since.

He said: “It has helped me do things I already did, but now I can do them independently, taking the pressure off friends and family who supported me.

“I have several meetings in the village most weeks, sometimes in the evenings. Having to rely on others to take me or pick me up lessened my independence.”

Mr Brown has continued with his charity work and can now spend quality time with his children.

Mr Brown said: “I can now be on the playground chatting with the other parents at 3pm to pick up our daughter from the village school. The pupils especially like to ask about my trike.

“Instead of holding everyone back on days out, I can be like no other daddy and give rides around our village or the grounds at Blenheim Palace.”