Officer's appeal for a wheelchair
A police officer with motor neurone disease is hoping to raise £8,500 to pay for a specialised wheelchair.
Sergeant Stewart Sparling has raised £20,000 for research into the condition and is now hoping others will donate to his own cause.
The 41-year-old, who was diagnosed in September 2011, uses a self-propelled wheeled walking frame which restricts him to footpaths and roads.
He is hoping to get a more rugged, all-terrain vehicle so he can take his field spaniel Harley for walks and continue to watch his 13-year-old daughter, Caitlin, play football.
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Stewart, of Melton, said: "It would give a new dimension to my life to be able to get out and do the things I've been used to.
"I enjoy the outdoor life and I like to go and watch Caitlin play football, but sometimes you have to get across muddy fields and at the moment that's difficult to do.
"I'd be able to go where I want when I want, instead of being restricted as I am now.
"I also want to get out across the fields walking my dog. For me it would be massive."
Stewart said his condition had deteriorated since his diagnosis.
"Since last year I've found it very hard to walk without a frame," he said.
"Now my legs are giving way and I can't walk for more than 10 minutes – for me it's like walking a marathon.
"The wheelchair I've been looking at is basically a go-kart with mountain bike wheels. It would be built specifically around my needs and can be adapted as my needs change. I hope to use it for more charity work to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) for its research.
"With the help of friends, I've raised £20,000 for the MNDA in the past 18 months."
Close friend Ian McGrath, a Pc in Melton, said: "Stewart has put a lot into raising money for the charity, but this appeal is for him personally."
A race night at the Harboro Hotel, in Burton Road, Melton, will be held at 7pm on Saturday, March 16 to raise money for the appeal. There will be eight races, a master of ceremonies, buffet and live music from The Fubars.
Tickets are £10. Businesses who would like to sponsor the race night are urged to get in touch. Ring Stewart on 07989 141156, or e-mail: