Amputee David will do Great South Run again to help improve life of Havant disabled man

KIND-hearted David Williamson is taking part in his sixth Great South Run to help improve the life of a man with disabilities.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 12:49 pm
Rob Ayling and his sister, Elizabeth Ayling, who looks after him, pictured in their home in Havant Picture: Chris Moorhouse

David, 39, is taking on the 10-mile route next weekend in his wheelchair to raise funds for Robert Ayling who has problems with his brain development and the connective tissue illness Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

The 25-year-old, from Havant, needs to be moved around the house by his family because of his agenesis of the corpus callosum (ACC) which means the part of his brain that controls movement and co-ordination is not fully developed.

At the moment, they used a stair lift to get him from his bedroom to the living room but the chair is uncomfortable for Robert and causes reflux.

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Wheelchair athlete David Williamson Picture: Chris Moorhouse

In a bid to make his life better and easier, the family want to install a lift but need £14,000.

After hearing Robert’s story, David, from Cowplain, decided to dedicate his Great South Run efforts to the cause.

He said: ‘When I met Rob's sister Elizabeth a few years back, she spoke about him with such love that it just made me want to help him.

‘I felt connected on a personal level despite never meeting him and that stayed with me for two years, until I had an opportunity to help.

‘They’re an incredible family and I felt humbled to be giving the chance to make a difference.’

News’ We Can Do It winner David, a double amputee, has spent a lot of his adult life fundraising and helping others.

He has taken part in marathons, five Great South Runs, captained a sitting volleyball team and won the 2017 and 2018 HBSA Disabled Sportsperson of the Year.

Now, he is aiming to raise £5,000 for Robert and his family.

Elizabeth, 33, said they cannot thank David enough for what he is doing.

‘We are so grateful and appreciative of David’s gesture,’ she said.

‘Robert’s conditions mean he is in need of 24/7 care and assistance.

‘We want to make his life as pain-free and easy as possible but the way he is being taken to his bedroom is causing unnecessary stress and discomfort.

‘With the lift and hoists, it will be a lot better and will make a big difference to his life.’

When Robert was younger, his family were given a grant to build a downstairs bedroom for him. But his condition meant outside noises would wake him up and he would become distressed.

While decorating, he was moved upstairs and Elizabeth said he slept through the night in the new room.

But as he got older, moving him became more difficult so the family need hoists, a wheelchair and the stair lift to take him from his bedroom.

Because of the earlier grant, they cannot apply for money for the lift and its installation.

Robert's mother Glynnis said: ‘This lift instalment will be so much better on his body and a total revolution to his life because he has been in so much physical pain.’

The Great South Run is on Sunday in Southsea.

To donate to David visit