Christmas came early for four-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Zac Walton and his family when they took delivery of a wheelchair-accessible car.
Big-hearted Constables Mobility Managing Director David Constable agreed to give the family the £14,000 vehicle when he heard about the amazing fundraising Zac’s father Ben had been doing for charities like Whizz Kids.
Ben, from Andover, found out about the car when he attended a recording of Noel’s Christmas Presents believing that his friend Howard would be receiving a gift from Noel Edmonds. Ben was moved to tears when Noel approached him during the recording and told him that Constables Mobility had agreed to donate a Citroёn Berlingo converted for wheelchair passengers with a lowered floor and a gently sloping ramp.
David Constable, Managing Director of Constables Mobility, said: “When we were approached by Noel’s team and told about Ben’s incredible generosity towards others and how the family desperately needed a better way to transport their son as he grows heavier, we agreed to help. Having one of the cars we’ve adapted for wheelchair users and their families and friends will make a huge difference to Zac and his family and give them the freedom to travel easily and comfortably.”
Ben, who firmly believes that ‘what goes around comes around’, was finding it increasingly difficult to lift Zac in and out of their ordinary car. Life had just become even more challenging with the arrival of Zac’s baby sister Lara. The Constables car is the answer to the family’s prayers as it will allow them to transport Zac safely and easily in his wheelchair.
Ben said: “I’m the only one who could get Zac in and out of a normal car. He’s quite tall for his age and, because he can’t use his legs, it was like threading a needle to get him in the right position. It meant all sorts of awkward positions like having his legs over my shoulders – it wasn’t good for either of us especially as he’s at an age when dignity it becoming increasingly important. It was also really time consuming as Zac’s special buggy has a four-point harness to undo and it’s heavy to lift and fold up. The new car is going to be fantastic. It will make our lives so much easier and save us so much time – I can’t thank Constables Mobility enough.”
Zac was 10 weeks premature and spent nine weeks in a neo natal unit before being allowed home. He weighed just 5.5lbs when he was allowed to leave hospital and Ben and his wife Abby were told that he’d been starved of oxygen. Just before Zac turned one, the couple were told the devastating news that their little boy had cerebral palsy. Since then, Zac has had several operations and there has been a constant stream of appointments to see doctors and specialists about his condition.
Ben, who has been nicknamed the ‘Iron man’ firmly believes that if someone is kind to you, you should repay their kindness. So, when Zac came out of hospital, Ben set about raising money for a baby incubator. So far he has raised £9,000.
But even before Zac was born, the 36 year old, who owns a dry cleaning business in Andover, had gained a reputation for doing crazy things involving ironing to raise money for Children in Need.
Ben’s stunts have gained him the World Record for ironing non-stop for 75 hours, breaking his previous world record of 60 hours. Ben’s ironing marathon raised £2,750 for Princess Royal Trust for Carers - the charity that helped the Walton family to buy Zac's special buggy. Ben raised enough to pay back the value of the buggy, plus enough to fund a pamper day for the carers and their Christmas party.
Ben has also raised money ironing in lots of different locations including at the top of Ben Nevis and at every football club in England in 36 hours in 2005. He even ironed on the roof of Andover’s Guildhall dressed as Pudsey Bear and has pressed items for celebrities like Sir Terry Wogan and Status Quo for charity. Ben’s ironing exploits have raised a massive £20,000 over seven years. He also found time to run the London Marathon last year, raising £5,000 for charity Bliss.
With little Zac as his inspiration, in 2012 Ben plans to complete the Three Peaks Challenge for Andover Young Carers who have recently had their funding cut, and run three marathons for Whizz Kids.
All Constables Mobility conversions are designed for the comfort and safety of the wheelchair user, driver and other passengers.. Like all the company’s wheelchair-accessible cars, Constables’ Citroёn Berlingo conversions are designed and manufactured at purpose-built UK production facilities.
Constables’ Berlingo is perfect for families because its flexibility offers seating options for up to five people including a wheelchair user and driver. In addition, there is a choice of optional folding seats. Access for the wheelchair user is up a gently sloping lightweight ramp, so gentle that it rarely requires a winch, and the conversion is fully certified to the most up-to-date EU standards for safety and the environment.
Constables Mobility is one of the UK's leading reputable manufacturers and suppliers of rear access Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) for one or two wheelchair users and have the largest range of flexible seating options in the WAV industry, offering the perfect solution for everyone searching for disabled vehicles.
Constables combine expertly engineered conversions with a price that defines great value to give you choice and flexibility when searching for a disabled vehicle that is both driver friendly and will comfortably carry the driver, wheelchair user and several additional passengers.
Renowned for their quality British engineering and innovation, Constables build wheelchair accessible vehicles to the highest standards, offering the family and wheelchair passenger true freedom, independence, good accessibility and exceptional user comfort.
Contact Constables on 0844 88 00 218 to book a free demonstration at your home, work, business or school, or visit www.constablesmobility.com
“Noel’s Christmas Presents” is a 90-minute studio show broadcast on SKY 1 over the festive period. Noel Edmonds makes dreams come true for the nation’s most deserving, hard-working and selfless people.
Rewarding people for their acts of generosity, Noel tells their emotive stories, as the once-in-a-lifetime gifts make this a Christmas to remember. The show is a heart-warming and uplifting festive treat brimming with touching true-life tales to remind the nation that Christmas should be about giving.
This Christmas, Noel’s Christmas Presents hopes to make the festive season extra special for some of those who’ve dedicated their time to others or battled against the odds. Having been nominated by friends, neighbours or family, Noel Edmonds travels the country delivering unique presents to people who deserve a Christmas gift which money cannot buy.