Paul Ward, from Billinge in Lancashire, near St Helens, has a dramatically changed lifestyle thanks to his new wheelchair accessible vehicle – a Fiat Freedom from Allied Vehicles.
Previously Paul, who uses a power wheelchair, rarely got out and about as he found taxi fares expensive. The Fiat Freedom is a fully wheelchair accessible car with room for wheelchair passenger, two seated passengers plus driver. The high roof makes the vehicle spacious for all and the electric winch system assists the wheelchair passenger up the lightweight rear ramp. The wheelchair passenger is then secured using a four point wheelchair restraint system.
After seeing an advertisement in a disability magazine Paul’s carer Mark Lant called Allied for more information and was pleased to discover that the Freedom is fully adapted for wheelchair passenger use and had a low advance payment with Motability.
Now Paul and carer Mark, who is the designated driver, are making good use of the economic fuel consumption by going on trips. Mark commented: ‘So far we’ve been to Martin Mere wildlife reserve, Wigan and St Helen’s. We’re also planning trips to the Lake District and Wales.
Paul can’t get enough of his new Freedom and wants to go everywhere in it.
‘It’s a fantastic car,’ continued Mark. ‘Its very nippy and the fuel consumption is amazing. It’s encouraged me to buy a diesel car for myself now’.
At the age of nine Paul was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia – a slowly progressive disorder of the nervous system and muscles. The condition is caused by degeneration of nerve tissue in the spinal cord and of nerves that extend to peripheral areas such as the arms and legs. Now Mark is Paul’s permanent carer and is providing stability in Paul’s life – as well as helping him get out and about to discover new places.