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Norfolk power chair star needs your help

PUBLISHED: 15:00 24 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:05 02 July 2010

Johnathon Byrne

Johnathon Byrne

Sam Emanuel

A disabled teenager who dreams of playing power chair football for his country is appealing for help to get the equipment he needs to allow him to realise his potential.

A disabled teenager who dreams of playing power chair football for his country is appealing for help to get the equipment he needs to allow him to realise his potential.

Johnathon Byrne, an 18-year-old student from Sutton, near Stalham, suffers from a condition called Merosin Deficient Congenital Muscular Dystrophy, which means his muscles weaken as he gets older and he is unable to walk.

But he has refused to let his condition hold him back and, as a member of the Norwich City Power Chair Football Club (NCPFC), he is hoping to play for England in the future, but needs a new power chair to enable him to do so.

He said: “I use my power chair for my day to day independence and I also use the same power chair to play power chair football.

“At the moment I have the problem of the current power chair I am using gets damaged when playing a game, so I am looking for funding to buy myself an official power chair for football.

“The chair I am looking to buy is the Storm 3 FFH. The chair will cost about £4,000, which is a lot of money for me to pay without a job. I'd like to think it's quite likely that I could play for England in the future, but I need the equipment to do so.”

His Easton College tutor, George Clarke, will be running the Paris marathon in April to help him raise money for the chair.

Former Norwich North MP Ian Gibson, who is now a columnist for the Evening News and patron of the NCPFC, is donating the money he gets paid for his column to the club for new chairs.

He added: “Hopefully my contributions will help Johnathon and the others in the group, and make sure we have an England player.”

To donate to the cause, money can be transferred into a specially set up LloydsTSB account - 'Chair for Johnny'; sort code 30-99-97 and account number 1611560, or sponsorship forms are available from the Easton College main reception and tennis centre.

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