Can you help Charlie’s basketball dream?

Charie Bonner.
Charie Bonner.

A 17-year-old teenager from Kirton is desperately trying to raise funds for a bespoke sports wheelchair that will help him to progress in the sport he loves.

Charlie Bonner, who has arthrogryposis, a condition that affects the movement in his joints, has been playing wheelchair basketball since the age of seven.

He’s excelled at the sport, playing for Newark Jaguars at under 15 and under 19 levels, and has consistently represented the East Midlands Region at the National Junior Championships.

Last year Charlie (pictured), a sixth form pupil at Skegness Grammar School, progressed to the adult national league playing for the Division Two side Sheffield Steelers.

However, now that Charlie is almost fully grown he requires a new sports wheelchair.

Without one he says he’s fearful he may have to give up the game that has given him so much.

As he explained: “Wheelchair basketball means everything to me.

“It’s helped me to keep fit, introduced me to new friends and given me independence and confidence.

“The thought of being unable to play the game is unbearable.”

Charlie’s father, Simon, aged 49, was told by coaches that an RGL Elite Sports wheelchair, used by Paralympian athletes, would meet his son’s needs.

Unfortunately, there was a considerable financial barrier to him purchasing the chair.

As Simon explained: “The chair is perfectly designed to improve Charlie’s agility and speed on court.

“However, whilst we know it would take him to the next level, these chairs don’t come cheap and at £3,993 it’s way beyond our budget.”

But now, thanks to fundraising support from Caudwell Children, the national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, Charlie has started a campaign to help the family raise the money needed for the new chair.

He said: “The charity has already helped us to contact a number of different organisations including; charities, Rotary clubs and Masons’ lodges.

“However, I want to appeal to the public and the business community and ask them to give me a helping hand. With their support I believe I may have a good future in the game.”

You can support Charlie through his Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/chair4charlie