Young Harrogate boy gets his Christmas wheelchair wish as town's generosity shines through

Felix with Rainbow fund members. Alex Vere, Caroline Carter, Catherine Clowe, Hannah Campbell and James White of The Rainbow Fund with Felix Williams (5) and family members sisters Amelie(9), Kitty(8) and mum Sarah. (1609276AM)
Felix with Rainbow fund members. Alex Vere, Caroline Carter, Catherine Clowe, Hannah Campbell and James White of The Rainbow Fund with Felix Williams (5) and family members sisters Amelie(9), Kitty(8) and mum Sarah. (1609276AM)

Harrogate’s Felix Williams is set to receive the “perfect Christmas gift” after a charity’s goodwill meant he could finally secure his long-awaited self-propelling wheelchair.

Last Thursday, the Harrogate Advertiser revealed how five-year-old Felix was “devastated” to learn that his hopes of a promised new wheelchair had been dashed.

Felix with Rainbow fund members. Felix Williams(5) with James White of the Rainbow Fund. (1609276AM1)

Felix with Rainbow fund members. Felix Williams(5) with James White of the Rainbow Fund. (1609276AM1)

Felix is unable to walk or crawl as a result of a life-limiting neurological condition and his mother, Sarah, said the chair would have been “crucial” for his movement.

Despite Felix hand-picking his £3,000 wheelchair out eight weeks previously, the family were then told it could no longer be provided by the NHS.

The story touched the hearts of the Harrogate community who responded in their droves, eager to help or donate money to Felix’s cause.

Harrogate charity The Rainbow Fund were particularly keen to jump to the family’s aide and said they would include Felix’s story in their latest fundraising appeal.

However, the family were thrilled to learn that the first £3,000 raised at their charity ball held at the Majestic Hotel on Saturday, would be donated to Felix’s wheelchair.

As a result of the fund’s hard work and generosity, the family can now order Felix’s new wheelchair just in time for a Christmas delivery.

Catherine Clowe, a committee member at The Rainbow Fund, said she was overcome with emotion when she read Felix’s story and felt compelled to help.

She said: “I was in a supermarket buying the Advertiser when I first read the story and I just felt immensely sad for the family

“It was heartbreaking to read about their disappointment in losing the funded wheelchair so I immediately decided I wanted to help.

“I knew it was something the Rainbow Fund would be interested in as this is exactly the type of cause it was established for.

“Everyone at Saturday’s benefit showed so much interest. They were shocked at the family’s situation but also enthusiastic and determined to raise the funds for Felix.

“We’re over the moon that Felix can now get his chair. Knowing that the generosity of local people has made a little boy’s life easier, you can’t ask for more than that.”

Sarah said she was “overjoyed” to tell Felix the news and said the new wheelchair will give him independence and autonomy over his body.

Last week, Sarah told the Advertiser that her son felt “humiliated” in his current wheelchair as it looks too similar to a baby’s buggy.

However, the family will now be able to order the new wheelchair today which, Catherine believes, will be a life-changing moment for Felix.

She said: “We hope the chair will make it easier for him to move more independently and give him his dignity back, which I know he lost a little in his previous chair.

“The chair we hope will be comfortable for him and easy to operate, after all, it’s his own personal form of transport.”