“My name is Thomas Bolton – changing lives for disabled children of the United Kingdom!” So says 18-year-old Thomas, from Burntwood, who has become the first official teenage Ambassador for leading UK children’s disability charity Newlife Foundation.
Thomas, who has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and is a full-time wheelchair user, is a student at Tamworth College where he is focusing on ICT and computer studies.
He has been involved with Newlife since he was six years old and received the charity’s very first Equipment Grant, for a standing frame. Since then, Newlife has funded more than £8.2million of specialist equipment for babies, children and young people all over the UK, including a specialist wheelchair for Thomas. He used his most recent, powered model to negotiate the Olympic torch route through Newtown near Great Wyrley last summer when he was an official torchbearer.
Thomas has been an enthusiastic supporter of Newlife, raising money to help other disabled and terminally ill children in the county and carrying out IT support work in the charity offices. Now he will be using his ‘Ambassador’ role to promote Newlife across the county – and beyond.
Newlife CEO Sheila Brown said: “Newlife’s very first grant helped Thomas. He was at risk of a spinal deformity unless he got a standing frame. Despite this, statutory services said ‘no’. But Newlife said ‘yes’ – and we have helped him since when the same services wouldn’t support his specific equipment needs. We are delighted he has benefited and grown into a super young man who is doing well at college. Now he wants to help more disabled children and young people to get the equipment they need. He will be asking our ‘Right equipment – right time’ campaign to secure improvements in equipment provision. We are delighted that he is volunteering to use his own experiences to highlight the needs of others.”
Pictured: Thomas with his Olympic Torch.