Inspirational man with cerebral palsy uses unique wheelchair to run his family farm

A County Tyrone man with cerebral palsy is inspiring others by using a specially adapted wheelchair to complete tasks on his family's dairy farm.

Jonathan Turtle from Newmills uses a customised electric wheelchair to tow small farming equipment, carry hay bales and bring feed to cattle.

The inspirational 46-year-old is non verbal and grew up on his family's farm.

His sister Glenda Turtle told UTV what a difference the wheelchair has made to Jonathan's life:

"He can basically do any job on the farm that any farmer can do.

"He can spread slurry, he can sow fertiliser, he can do his own sileage, his own round bales so any piece of machinery he sees on a farm he has to get it for himself.

"Jonathan's always been an outdoors person, he's never been one for being stuck in the house.

"From when he was really young, Dad always had him outside on the farm and he's always loved being outside on the farm.

"So without this chair he would be stuck indoors and we noticed even through covid because he had to isolate that that brought his mood down and we could see him spiralling into a depression.

"This chair is basically his legs.

"Where we can go he can now go through fields, over rough ground, pavements anything he'll take the chair." The family received donations from friends, family and the local community to fund the chair which cost £18,000.

It has special adaptations including an adjustable wing mirror, fitted by Jonathan's brother and a tow bar on the back to attach to different machinery.

Glenda says it has had a positive impact on Jonathan's mental health:

"Being outside and being on the farm is his happy place so when he's out there he's happy and he's in a good mood when he's outside.

"When Jonathan's happy we're happy.

"I've always said we do for Jonathan what we would want done for ourselves if we were in that position.

"Just because he's got cerebral palsy doesn't mean that he has to be limited in where he can go and where he can't go, he needs to be included.

"He's the centre of our family and the centre of our farm and we want to include him in everything."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.