Getting about in the Lammermuir Hills can be tough but if you are confined to a wheelchair it can be even tougher, if not impossible.
However, Finlay Paxton, who lives at Scarlaw Farm near the Watch Water reservoir, now has a new wheelchair which has the capability of travelling on most terrains including off-road, which is essential for the terrain he encounters on a day-to-day basis.
Finlay has learning and physical disabilities and his present electric wheelchair, which was barely adequate and unsuitable for the area where he lives, has come to the end of its life. This situation placed barriers on his ability to fully integrate into his local community of Longformacus and Duns and the wider world, restricting his outings and trips away.
An all terrain wheelchair can cost in the region of £4,000 but fortunately Finlay had a team of enthusiastic fund raisers on his side.
Philip Gilholm is an additional needs assistant at Berwickshire High School who supported Finlay when he was at school and continues to support him one day a week helping him to swim and go out for lunch, go to the cinema and attend other social outings, explains: “We consulted BAVS who gave us an number of funding sources and we received some financial assistance towards the purchase a new wheelchair. Finlay received grants from the Lammermuir Community Fund and the ACT Foundation.
“Local ladies Sharon Baker and Leslie Redden did a sponsored bike ride from Glasgow to Inverness and raised the fantastic sum of £1,100.
“This only left Finlay with a small shortfall which he is paying himself and he has another small application outstanding which was submitted by his social worker.”
Finlay would like to express his grateful thanks to the following for their help: Phillipa Wetton, the Lammermuir Community Fund, Cranshaws, Ellemford and Longformacus Community Council, Sharon Baker and Leslie Redden, the ACT Foundation, social worker Heather Stuart and everyone who helped and/or donated money.
There will be no stopping Finlay now as he continues to lead as full and active a life as he possibly can. He has already demonstrated his artistic ability - winning a national competition in 2011, while still at Berwickshire High School. The competition was run by Afasic Scotland, a charity that helps children and young people who live with communication impairments, and Finlay led the way as pupils from the school’s support for learning deparment took the competition by storm, taking three of the top prizes.