Joy for Telford cricket umpire John as he unveils unique wheelchair - with VIDEO
Telford cricket umpire John McIntear has taken final delivery of his unique powered wheelchair so he can officiate at matches.
Despite battling the effects of lung cancer he launched a £20,000 fundraising appeal to cover the cost of the bespoke motorised chair and a special van to transport it in order to carry out duties at county sports grounds.
John, aged 62, can no longer stand up for long periods due to his health issues, but says the specially designed wheels will allow him to continue to participate in the sport for longer.
He said a key part of the effort was to raise awareness of the importance of people with disabilities having access to sport.
The Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm veteran, of Madeley, was awarded grant funding by the Royal British Legion, other military charities and Motability towards the cost and van adaptations.
Stumped by the overwhelming support he has received, John said: “Cricket has always been a part of my life and when I contacted the Royal British Legion’s West Midlands team they were keen to aid me in acquiring this chair.
“I was assigned a wonderful case officer and they helped me from the outset to secure an initial grant from the Legion of £1,500 and in addition, the Shropshire county branch donated £500 towards the fund.
"They then supported me in reaching out to other charities, including Motability who put a staggering £4,000 towards the target total, and without the determination of the team, I wouldn’t be in the position I am now."
He also praised well-wishers from the community and friends for making donations to his online Go Fund Me appeal.
“They have been fantastic in supporting me with my desire to continue being a part of the sport I love, and I can’t wait to get out on the field and put the new equipment to the test,” he said.
Royal British Legion West Midlands area manager Jane Britton said: “We work very closely with other military charities and local authorities to put forward the case of our beneficiaries and we are delighted that our influence and strong connections in the region has led to John being able to take delivery of his new electric wheelchair in August.
“John’s case has been one of drive and determination and his desire and passion to continue his role in cricket, regardless of his illness, has inspired us as a team to support him through his occupational assessment and procurement of an appropriate chair.
"We can’t wait to see John out on the field, and we hope his story inspires others to seek help and advice from the Royal British Legion in future.”
John added: “I would encourage anyone seeking support to speak with the Legion. They were able to part-fund my chair and signpost me to other charities I never knew could help me – they were a real all-rounder.”
Telford & Wrekin Council has already carried out adaptation work to an access gate at his Madeley home in readiness for the arrival of the wheelchair.
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