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Marriott cycle ride to raise funds for disabled children

A team from the Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel in Meriden is gearing up for a sponsored cycle ride for children’s disability charity, Newlife, on Monday, 19 September.

Fifteen members of Marriott staff will be setting off at 9am from the main gates of the hotel. They will cover 30 miles, ending their route at Warwick.

Director of Sales and Marketing at the Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel, Shaun Dalton, said: “We have supported Newlife since last year as our preferred charity and this is our first cycle ride to raise money – if we do well, we may do more. If anyone wants to support us, they should go to We’d be delighted to hear from you!”

Newlife’s Fundraising Manager Nora Smith said: “As demand on Newlife increases with more and more families of disabled children across the West Midlands increasingly turning to us for help, we are always looking for ways to raise additional funds so are delighted that the Marriott have taken up this challenge.”

Newlife’s equipment grants offer practical support to families in need. Equipment can range from pain-relieving beds to specialist car seats, from wheelchairs to therapy aids. Equipment that costs from hundreds to several thousands of pounds can revolutionise a child’s life.

Last year alone, Newlife awarded £1.2million in equipment grants to children throughout the UK – including 68 across the West Midlands at a cost of £86,126.30. But Newlife is experiencing hugely increased demands on its resources; calls to the Newlife Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 – have shot up by 73 per cent compared to the same period last year. This is an average of 300 calls a week, with thousands more hits on the charity’s website:

Nora continued: “It would seem that it is our most vulnerable children who are losing out. Newlife is determined to help as many disabled and terminally ill children – and their families – as possible, and is increasingly calling on the support of volunteers and donors.”

Newlife guarantees that 100 per cent of any gift or donation will go directly to help disabled children in the region and the Newlife Community Fundraising Team can be contacted on 01543 462777 or 0800 988 4640.

Among the region’s children currently applying for equipment grants are Joel Wilson, aged eight, and Stephanie Hobshoar, aged ten, both from Sutton Coldfield. Here are their stories . . . .


Wheelchair-bound Joel Wilson, aged eight, needs a specialist standing frame to improve his bone density and muscle development – and enable him to play with his younger brothers and sister.

Joel – from Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield – has cerebral palsy affecting all four limbs, in addition to bilateral hearing loss. He has no independent mobility and spends much of his time in a wheelchair. He communicates using British Sign Language and Makaton symbols. A standing frame – which costs £2,295 – to use at home would help him participate more easily in some family activities while at the same time benefiting his health.

Mum Jeannie Wilson said: “Joel is as bright as a button – his disabilities are all physical. Having a standing frame to use after school, at weekends and throughout the school holidays would make a huge impact on his life.

“He has access to a standing frame at his school – Wilson Stuart in Erdington – and being able to use it makes him very happy. When he has time to stand his muscles relax, which benefits him immensely. However, he is only able to use the standing frame at school for limited periods of time. If we had our own at home, it would enable Joel to do more of the things that any average child can do; he particularly likes baking and cooking and having a standing frame would make this a lot easier.

Jeannie added: “It would give him a better quality of life and more enjoyment.”


Disabled girl Stephanie Hobshoar, from Sutton Coldfield, has Rett Syndrome and is in urgent need of a specialist standing frame to help stop her spine from curving and prevent muscle deterioration.

Epilepsy sufferer Stephanie, aged ten, has no independent mobility and no control over her movements. She is unable to talk but communicates with her parents using her eyes.

Stephanie is a pupil at The Bridge School in Erdington, where she has access to a specialist standing frame which she uses for an hour each day. Stephanie’s father Rassol said: “She has gradually built up her tolerance for the standing frame, from ten minutes to an hour. Ideally, she should be using the frame every day but because of ill health she misses a lot of school time – sometimes she is only well enough to attend once or twice a week.

“If we had a standing frame at home we could ensure she used it each day – at weekends and in the school holidays and we could also put her in it for a short while after school. Stephanie’s doctors have recommended that she uses a standing frame to underpin her treatment, otherwise the therapy she receives will all be in vain.”

The cost of the standing frame is £2,020, so Stephanie’s parents Rassol and Blanca, who live on the Falcon Lodge estate in Sutton Coldfield, have turned to Newlife Foundation for help.

Rassol Hobshoar added: “If Stephanie can just have regular use of a standing frame we can delay the onset of scoliosis and even improve her posture.”


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