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Appeal to help man without use of his legs buy a specially-adapted car

PUBLISHED: 19:45 07 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:54 08 February 2019

Carl Collins (left) with his brother Richard (right). Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Carl Collins (left) with his brother Richard (right). Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

The family of a former wheelchair athlete born without the use of his legs are appealing for funds to help him buy a new specially-adapted car, helping to transform his mobility.

Carl Collins, 49, from Somersham, was born without the use of his legs due to a rare medical condition which means he had deformed bones that stunted his growth.

He relies on his wheelchair and car for his mobility, with his brother Stephen saying Carl does not let his condition get in the way of his independence.

However the adapted Ford Focus he currently uses does not include a wheelchair ramp, meaning he cannot get in and out of the vehicle on his own.

“It makes it very awkward for me to get in and out of the car, I need Stephen’s help whenever I go out. It takes a while,” Carl said.

Carl Collins, 49, was born without the use of his legs, caused by deformed bones. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCarl Collins, 49, was born without the use of his legs, caused by deformed bones. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“I have to climb in on the passenger side, where I sit and have a little rest before I climb across to the driver’s seat. It’s more difficult for me to use the driver’s side.

“Having a car with a wheelchair ramp will make my life so much easier. People don’t understand how hard it is for wheelchair users.”

Another of his brothers, Richard, 67, set up the charity page after years of watching his brother struggle.

He said: “I see these cars online and thought I just want to help my little brother.

Carl, then 14, appeared several times in our newspapers for his sporting skills. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCarl, then 14, appeared several times in our newspapers for his sporting skills. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“He’s always battled on, nothing would stop him. He struggled with his peers at a young age and we lost our father when Carl was 14, but still he was competing in wheelchair school competitions, he even competed in Germany. He was in the newspaper several times for his sporting efforts.

“It would just be nice to see him smile and not be struggling.”

Even though undoubtedly proud of the achievements made in the face of adversity, Carl remains humble - something his brother Richard continually stressed.

“I’m really grateful that people are donating, it’s really appreciated,” Carl said. “I still wouldn’t be able to go out on my own - I rely on Stephen’s care - but I’d love to have the opportunity to drive further than Felixstowe. That’s as far as I feel comfortable right now, It’ll make so much difference for me.”

Carl’s current car was paid for under the Hire Purchase scheme, using his own money.

He previously had a car using the Motability scheme but the money spent to pay for the car was taken away from his benefits, leaving him with potential money problems.

“He’s paid off the car he’s got now, but Motability didn’t work for him. By the time they took £140-150 a month in payments, he was left unable to pay his bills,” Richard said.

“If we could reach the £8,000 target, we’d be able to buy Carl a second-hand car with the minimum modifications he needs.

“I’ve been in touch with two local car dealerships to see if they’re able to help Carl in any way, even if we buy the car and they help fit the modifications.”

Donations can be made on Carl’s Justgiving page.

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