Former rugby player Andrew Gaskell from Bury St Edmunds launches fundraising drive for wheelchair standing frame

Andrew Gaskell, who was almost totally paralised in a scrum accident playing for Bury St Edmunds Rug

Andrew Gaskell, who was almost totally paralised in a scrum accident playing for Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club in 1998, lost body hair in a bid to raise �5.500 for a standing wheelchair. - Credit: Archant

A former Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club player who was partially paralysed in a scrum accident 17 years ago has gone for the smooth-bodied look in a bid to raise more than £5,000 for a specialist piece of equipment.

Andrew Gaskell, who had played with the club since he was a child, has been wheelchair-bound since he suffered an injury to his spine on the rugby field in 1998.

In a bid to improve his overall health and to strengthen the muscle and bones in his lower body, the 41-year-old has launched a fundraising drive to raise £5,500 for a wheelchair that can also be used as a standing frame, starting things off by getting his back, chest and stomach waxed.

On Wednesday, Mr Gaskell was supported by colleagues at Greene King in the town while he underwent the painful hair removal process, raising at least £600.

The switchboard operator, who cannot stand up unaided, said the frames available on the NHS were extremely heavy, but he had researched a lighter-weight option that can also be used as a wheelchair.

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He said: “It’s just going to make my health a lot better. Also, with the standing, because I’m sat down all the time, all my organs are squished up. That will get them back into the right places and sort of strengthen that area as well. So, as well as helping bone density, it will help with general health as well.”

He added: “And it just means I can get a coffee cup without asking someone.”

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Mr Gaskell, from Bury, said he is currently borderline for osteoporosis in his hips, but he said standing could stop the bones from becoming further weakened.

He has also raised about £250 through his JustGiving webpage, and is looking to organise a raffle at work as well as other fundraisers.

“It’s a really good start,” he said.

To support Mr Gaskell in his fundraising efforts visit

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