Cashino Putney

A TEENAGER from Woking has found new independence and freedom after being presented with a powered wheelchair.

The chair was bought for 14-year-old Thomas Dring thanks to the fundraising efforts of customers and staff at a gaming centre.

Thomas Dring, with dad Paul and mum Solange, in his new wheelchair

Thomas, a pupil at Gordons School at West End, suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic disorder that causes muscle degeneration and weakness.

His wheelchair was provided thanks to Cashino Putney, one of the main fundraisers for the charity CHIPS.

CHIPS was set up on behalf of the casino and gaming industry to provide specialised powered wheelchairs for children with severe mobility problems.

Thomas’s mum, Solange, said: “Thomas can only walk short distances and tires very quickly. He has an NHS wheelchair that is in reasonably good condition but, unfortunately, he’s outgrown it.

“He’s really competitive but can’t keep up with his friends or get around school too well, which is causing him to become frustrated. All of this is causing an impact on his independence and emotional stability.”

“The powered wheelchair will be life changing for Thomas, and our whole family. It’ll give him back his independence, freedom and mobility, meaning we can spend more time outdoors as a family.”

A spokesman for Cashino Putney said: “It is such a proud moment to know that our fundraising efforts have helped Thomas be able to get around a bit easier. Walking is something that most of us take for granted, so it makes us all overwhelmed to know that he has been given more of a chance to enjoy his life as much as he can.”

CHIPS, through fundraising which includes contributions from Cashino and its parent company Praesepe, has so far raised more than £2.2m, enabling the charity to present over 520 wheelchairs to children throughout the UK.