Teen's lifeline taken

PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 25 May 2010

A 15-YEAR-OLD boy had his 'lifeline' wheelchair stolen and vandalised by thugs after a family gathering.

A 15-YEAR-OLD boy had his 'lifeline' wheelchair stolen and vandalised by thugs after a family gathering.

The Kings of Wessex School student, Tom Ainsworth, who has cerebral palsy, was with his parents at a get-together in Axbridge shortly before the incident happened.

They left the electric wheelchair near the door of the property in Starrs Close before going in.

When leaving at about 1am on December 29 they soon realised Tom's £11,500 electric wheelchair had disappeared.

His parents, full-time mum Louise, aged 39, dad Paul, a builder, aged 41, and their friends went out on foot with torches to look for the item.

Eventually the chair was found near The Square with several youths climbing on it.

Footprints were found on the arms, the mechanisms of the chair had been altered and the back of the seat had been bent and severely damaged.

Mrs Ainsworth of Wall Green, Axbridge, said: "Tom was totally bewildered by what was going on and we were all shocked.

"We never expected something like this to happen, especially in Axbridge.

"Thankfully his dad could make some minor repairs to allow him to use it again but we now have to wait for the insurance to be sorted before it is fully repaired."

Mrs Ainsworth said the damage will cost about £3,000 and that new parts will have to be especially made and imported.

Tom has a unique chair which allows him to raise and lower the height which is essential for school.

Mrs Ainsworth added: "The people that did this need to realise that this is Tom's lifeline.

"He needs this for getting around and for school and it is very important."

She also added that people in the town have been very supportive.

PC Tom Pether said that this was an isolated incident and that no one has yet been caught for the offence.

He said: "We hope the people that did this feel regretful and they may now wish to make amends."

Anyone with information should call police on 0845 4567000.

More from Weston Mercury

Yesterday, 16:00

Social media users are calling for staff parking charges to be scrapped at Weston General Hospital after it was revealed employees forked out almost £150,000 to park their vehicles.

Read more
Yesterday, 20:00

The Original Rude Boy will be heading to Bristol this weekend.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:01

Local punk band The Run Up will open for Irish folk punk legends Flogging Molly when the Fireball-Fuelling the Fire tour hits the O2 Academy Bristol, next month.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

Award-winning drama The Madness Of George III will be broadcast live to cinemas, in National Theatre Live’s first ever broadcast from Nottingham Playhouse on Tuesday.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:00

A charity ice skating session raised hundreds of pounds for Weston Foodbank.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:00

An old school building which is used for nature education and connects people with one of the area’s finest beauty spots will be flogged by the local authority.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:24

Mini Christmas stockings and festive trees are now on sale at Weston Hospicecare.

Read more
Weston Hospicecare Weston-super-Mare
Yesterday, 12:00

Plans to address shortcomings in special needs education provisions have been approved by a Government watchdog, which previously raised ‘significant concerns’ over services run in the district.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:00

A Weston business owner is ‘proud’ after being named among Britain’s best small shops.

Read more
Yesterday, 07:48

The following cases were heard at North Somerset Courthouse from September 24 to October 3.

Read more
In The Dock

Most Read News

Read Online

Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 9°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists