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Life’s a beach: Family campaigns for better wheelchair access in Portstewart

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Jane, Gordy and Archie (6) Stewart joined Pippa Campbell from the Mae Murray Foundation and Anna Corry from Blossoming Birds

Jane, Gordy and Archie (6) Stewart joined Pippa Campbell from the Mae Murray Foundation and Anna Corry from Blossoming Birds

Jane, Gordy and Archie (6) Stewart joined Pippa Campbell from the Mae Murray Foundation and Anna Corry from Blossoming Birds

A Co Antrim family has launched a fundraising campaign to help make Portstewart more accessible to wheelchair users next year.

Anna Corry is using her Instagram platform, Blossoming Birds to raise funds to help ensure the beach in Portstewart will be able to offer free-hire equipment

Over £7,000 has been raised to date, which will be used to buy floating chairs and all-terrain wheelchairs.

“As a family, there is nothing we love more than days at the beach,” said Anna.

"However, this summer we met a lovely family at Portstewart Beach who were unable to do the same because their son’s wheelchair was not suitable for the sand, so he had to watch from the path with his mum.

"We wanted to do something to help make sure that no families are left out from making memories together at the beach and that everybody can enjoy what so many of us take for granted.”

She contacted the Mae Murray Foundation which has been providing equipment to help make beaches inclusive.

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The mum-of-three explained: "We reached out to see how we could help when we found out that the unit for a hoist and equipment storage is already at Portstewart Beach.

"But unfortunately there have not been enough funds raised to purchase the essential equipment to enable users to use the beach, so we knew what we had to do.”

Anna is running a prize draw for a Mulberry Lily luxury bag and coin purse to help raise funds.

"I hope this small gesture will go a long way in allowing people of all ages and abilities the chance to visit the beach and take part in activities and experience the sea and sand together.”

Jane Stewart and her sons Saul (12) and six-year-old Archie (age 6) – who have have the genetic condition Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia (SED), a rare form of dwarfism – are Mae Murray Foundation service users.

“For families like ours, this fundraising initiative means so much to us. Being able to access beach wheelchairs and other resources which enable disabled people and their families to take full advantage of the beaches is life-changing,” she said.

Pippa Campbell, community Development Officer of the Mae Murray Foundation, urged the public to support the campaign, adding: “Every donation counts and will go a long way in helping us get more people to the beach.”

The Mae Murray Foundation aims to enable people of all ages and abilities to take part in activities, experience the world and enjoy friendship together in an inclusive environment.

For further information or to enter the prize draw go to www.blossomingbirds.co.uk


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