Support offered to club after chair theft

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DONATIONS have been pouring in to replace 15 specialist wheelchairs stolen from Wellingborough Phoenix Wheelchair Basketball Club.

A trailer containing the custom-built basketball wheelchairs was stolen from the grounds of Weavers Sports Centre, in Weavers Road, Wellingborough, last month.

Since the theft a PayPal account has been set up through which people can make donations to help replace the wheelchairs.

The club has received a donation of £5,000 from Northampton-based Euro Scaffolding, as well as a donation from the GB Paralympic squad in Australia and others from numerous concerned members of the public.

Premier league basketball club MK Lions has offered club members the chance to demonstrate their skills in front of Sky Sports News cameras at tomorrow’s home match against Newcastle, and schools and local companies have come forward with offers of fundraising events to help replace the equipment.

Club chairman Chris Dabbs said: “We have been stunned by the public’s amazing reaction to this despicable crime and their offers of help. We’ve managed to borrow chairs from Greenfields Special School in Northampton to keep the club Saturday morning training sessions at the Weavers Leisure Centre going in the short-term. But we are determined to get our Hot Wheels programme rolling again, and though there is a long way to go, we are confident that if this support continues we’ll be up and running soon.”

Derek Clark, UKIP MEP for Northamptonshire, said the party had pledged £50 to the appeal. He said: “This was an absolutely despicable and shocking crime which has affected the lives of disabled people.”

The club has also received support from Christine Hamilton, who mentioned the campaign on the social networking website Twitter.

To make a donation visit www.wellingboroughphoenix.co.uk and click on the PayPal link.