I’m ditching my wheelchair for fundraising walk

READY TO WALK Christopher Ratcliffe with his mum Laura Alvey.   Picture: Steve Reid (113811-611)
READY TO WALK Christopher Ratcliffe with his mum Laura Alvey. Picture: Steve Reid (113811-611)
Philip Astle, SCAS chief operating officer and, right, Paul Jefferies, assistant
director of operations

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TWO years ago Christopher Ratcliffe relied on a wheelchair to get around.

But tomorrow the eight-year-old will join scores of other youngsters on a magical meander around Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.

Christopher, of Allaway Avenue, in Paulsgrove, was born with hypermobilty.

The condition means his joints are very loose, making it painful to walk.

But after undergoing physiotherapy and home exercises, Christopher has ditched his wheelchair and will be taking part in the Moonlit Memories Meander to raise money for Rowans Hospice.

Mum Laura Alvey, 27, is a part-time sales assistant and is also a volunteer at the Purbrook hospice.

She said: ‘This is a great achievement for Christopher.

‘When he was younger it was a struggle, he would trip himself up and had to deal with a lot of pain.

‘He suffered very badly from the condition in his ankles, so it got to the point where he needed a wheelchair.

‘But since he started going to Victory Primary School in Portsmouth his confidence built up and so did his strength.

‘He has been out of his wheelchair since last September and this year when I told him about the sponsored walk, he wanted to take part.’

Christopher will be taking part in the walk with Laura’s partner Kevin Ratcliffe.

This is the second meander, which is a course to allow children aged 16 and under to take part in a walk similar to the Moonlit Memories Walk that is held each year in June for adults.

More than 500 children will be taking part in the walk, which starts at 6pm.

The one-and-a-half-mile route goes around the dockyard and into parts of Portsmouth Naval Base, which aren’t usually open to members of the public.

Children can choose to go round again to complete the three-mile challenge.

Each participant will get a medal to say they have completed the course.

This year children are also being invited to make and decorate a star to place on a board.