A young Lisburn footballer is the centre of an appeal to raise funds for a bespoke sports wheelchair to help him fulfil his dreams in the sport.
Ten-year-old Kingston Bryars, who has the condition Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus, plays for Lightning Powerchair Football Club, based at the Lisburn Leisureplex.
However, Kingston, from Portadown, has to borrow a chair in order to play and his father, Colin, believes that a new chair would improve his son’s chances of developing in the sport.
“Players without specially adapted equipment have to share the club’s spare chairs. This can result in Kingston having to play in the wrong size chair, or using one with foot straps that don’t fit properly,” said Mr Bryars.
“It’s a little like a footballer playing in the wrong sized boots.
“Kingston has flourished since taking up wheelchair football and not playing the game is not an option for him.
“So I’m urging the local community to support his appeal – with their help Kingston may fulfil his dream.”
Kingston’s ambition is to become a football coach but without the specialist chair he says he is not sure if he will be able to fulfil his dreams.
He said: “I love wheelchair football as it’s perfect for my condition, and it’s really exciting when you’re playing.
“If I don’t get a new chair I may have to give up, which would be really sad as I’ve made so many new friends.
“It would also make it difficult for me to become a coach as I still have lots more to learn playing the game.”
Kingston has teamed up with Caudwell Children, the national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, to try and raise the £5,239 needed for a specialist sports chair.
Davinia Cann, family services coordinator for Caudwell Children, said: “This equipment will enable Kingston’s continued development both on and off the pitch.
“Unbelievably, there are an estimated 70,000 children in the UK who would benefit from the correct mobility equipment.
“Kingston’s story highlights the kind of support that is needed for children with a condition that affects their mobility.”
Donations to Kingston’s appeal can be made at: www.justgiving.com/chair4kingston.