‘Thanks for showing wheel festive spirit’

Leanne with her new wheelchair.

Leanne with her new wheelchair.

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HOW about this for some heart-warming Christmas spirit?

A disabled teenager whose wheelchair was stolen by thieves has thanked 
Gazette readers for their generosity after they offered up replacement wheelchairs.

Leanne Garner-Jones, 18, feared she would be housebound for Christmas when her wheelchair was stolen from outside the front of her house on Tyne Avenue, Blackpool.

But after The Gazette highlighted her plight, the office was inundated with calls to help Leanne, who suffers from cerebral palsy and is unable to walk for more than a couple of yards unaided.

The teenager today said: “I’m very grateful. It’s brilliant the amount of notice that people have taken and the support people have given me.

“It’s been great. I’d like to say thank you to all those who helped me, at least some people are in the Christmas spirit.”

The theft took place on Saturday some time between 8pm and 8.30pm.

Leanne ended up getting a replacement wheelchair from the NHS on Wednesday.

But among those readers who offered up a replacement for her were John and Rita Harper, 56, from Harper and Pye carpet shop, in Victoria Road West, Cleveleys; Ronald Jones, 83, from Webster Avenue, South Shore; John Ward, 48, from Chipping Grove, Grange Park; Stuart Frost, from Hambleton, and Debbie Swain, from South Shore.

Mrs Harper said: “John’s father had a new wheelchair before he passed away 12 months ago. We had seen in the paper about how this wheelchair had been stolen so we thought we would offer the wheelchair we had.

“We’ve just kept hold of it in case, but were willing to give it away.”

Phil Purcell, quality manager at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust specialist mobility and rehabilitation centre, said: “We know how important chairs are to our patients, and in particular those with 
cerebral palsy, to enable them to maintain their independence and mobility.

“We were delighted to be able to provide a replacement this week.”