Gateshead boy, 5, to get 'life-changing' wheelchair after school friends help raise £20k

18.05.23 Freddie Tanner-Boyer Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
Pupils and staff at a Gateshead school ran a fun-filled fundraiser for fellow pupil, Freddie Tanner-Boyer, so they could buy him an all-terrain wheelchair. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A boy who has never been able to walk is set to get an electric wheelchair after his school friends helped raise more than £20k.

Freddie Tanner-Boyer was born with spinal muscular atrophy, which means he has never been able to stand or walk.

The five-year-old is a pupil at St Joseph's Primary School in Blaydon, Gateshead, where pupils have been taking part in a fun-filled fundraiser to get the money for the wheelchair.

Originally aiming to raise £10,000, they smashed the target and raised more than £20,000.

It mean Freddie's new all-terrain wheelchair will be delivered on Saturday 10 June, which will enable him to access all areas and play with his friends without assistance.

Freddie's teacher says "he's just a normal little boy who wants to play with his friends and have fun." Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Freddie currently uses a manual wheelchair and although he manages well indoors, outside is a struggle .

He said: "It's going to be electric. It can go on beaches and roads."

"I can escape from my mam!" the youngster joked.

His mum, Steph Tanner-Boyer, said: "It will be life-changing for him to get around."

Dad Antoni Boyer added: "I think that's all you want for your son. You just want him to be part of the group - part of being included like every other kid."

Head teacher Paul Naughton, who took on a swimming challenge in a local river and said: "We recognised very quickly once Freddie came to this school that we had to make life more inclusive for him and the only way we could do that is by providing the right equipment."

Pupils ran over 100 miles and staff took part in crazy antics including donning cowboy hats, colouring their hair purple and dressing up as a dinosaur.

One pupil told ITV Tyne Tees: "We can do all sorts of things like running, jumping and playing games in PE but Freddie can't really that sort of thing so we knew the wheelchair would help him do all the things we can do."

Freddie's class teacher, Abigail Cavanagh, said: "The difficulties come when it's raining or a hilly environment and that's when it can be quite tricky for him to get around. Other than that he's just a normal little boy who wants to play with his friends and have lots of fun."

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