The UK gaming industry took centre stage recently as CHIPS presented the 500th powered wheelchair thanks to donations made by a wide range of organisations from across the sector including Beacon Bingo, Cashino, Clarion Gaming, NRM and The Rank Group.
In a presentation at London’s Reform Club, Strictly Come Dancing star Anton du Beke took time out of a busy schedule to present the 500th powered wheelchair to 10-year old Abbi Bennett who lives with Ulrich’s Muscular Dystrophy which affects her lower limbs and severely limits her mobility. Abbi, who travelled to London from her home in Bournville, Birmingham is the latest recipient to benefit from CHIPS’ fundraising which totals over £2m, a figure that has allowed it to purchase the bespoke powered wheelchairs that the NHS cannot provide and that the parents cannot afford.
Talking at the presentation Anton said: “These wheelchairs are life-changing and it’s been an honour to be part of this wonderful achievement with CHIPS! I really love working with smaller charities such as CHIPS where you see the impact of their work, even though they’re small charities they make a massive difference. To be part of today has been incredible, I’ve met Abbi – who’s a little beauty – and that wheelchair has made such a difference to her life already. It’s wonderful to see how she’s completely independent not waiting for someone to push her or carry her, she’s just off on her own path! That sense of giving a fuller life to a child is so important and the freedom and independence it brings, is just unbelievable.”
Commenting on the 500th presentation, CHIPS’ co-founder Linda Lindsay, said: “We’re delighted to have achieved this incredible milestone and in doing so provide Abbi with the gift of freedom which so many of us take for granted. This wheelchair, which cost £7,000, will provide her with the freedom to move around easily and safely and includes a state-of-the-art hi/lo facility allowing her to talk to her friends and family face-to-face rather than always on a lower level. We could not have reached this milestone figure without the amazing generosity of the UK industry. We are very grateful and sincerely hope that this will continue, so that we can help more wonderful and deserving youngsters like Abbi.
“I’ve attended virtually every one of the 500 CHIPS wheelchair presentations and have seen how the chairs quite literally change lives, not just the children’s but the whole family as well as carers, teachers and friends. To reach 500 is incredibly exciting and we’re very humbled to have had Anton mark this momentous occasion and help Abbi onto the next stage of her adventure.”
CHIPS sets the highest fundraising standards with 100% of monies raised going towards the provision of powered wheelchairs for children throughout the United Kingdom. Linda explained: “Every chair we provide brings great joy not only to the individual child who is able to interact and socialise with friends but also to the family unit. The sad fact is that the demand for specialised chairs that the NHS can’t provide, far exceeds what CHIPS can supply. However, today marks a huge achievement for the charity and with more companies pledging their support to us each year, we hope to reach the next 500 even sooner and continue to bring freedom to youngsters throughout the UK.”