Mayor pledges his support for disabled
ELY S new mayor Cllr Ron Bradney pledged his support for the disabled and a charity which gives them the chance to enjoy boating on the river when he was officially elected on Monday. Cllr Bradney has chosen Waterwing, run by St John s Ambulance to give d
ELY'S new mayor Cllr Ron Bradney pledged his support for the disabled and a charity which gives them the chance to enjoy boating on the river when he was officially elected on Monday.
Cllr Bradney has chosen Waterwing, run by St John's Ambulance to give disabled people the opportunity to travel in special adapted boats, as his charity of the year.
Waterwing was founded by Ely resident, Air Marshal Sir John Baird, who is chairman of Cambridgeshire St John's Ambulance.
The Waterwing appeal is close to raising £150,000 to buy and fit out a boat suitable for use by the severely disabled, Cllr Bradney told fellow councillors and supporters during the Mayor Making ceremony on Monday night.
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"The British have a love of boats and of being on water, but if you are severely disabled this simple pleasure is denied to you as normal boats are only built for the able bodied and mostly just for the fit able bodied," he said.
"This is where this new boat comes in as it is specially fitted out to accommodate the special needs of the disabled, but just as importantly the crew of volunteers are specially trained to help and cope in difficult circumstances."
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He added that St John's Ambulance is operating several of these special boats in other parts of the country and he was impressed by "the expressions of pure pleasure on the faces of the passengers" when he watched a promotional DVD from the charity.
"For some it was the first time they had been on a boat, for others many years since they had been boating. For us able bodied we have the choice to go boating or not, but for a disabled person to experience boating for the first time seemed to me an extraordinary event."
Cllr Bradney wants to raise funds for the boat's operational costs which total more than £30,000 a year.
He promised to make a substantial donation and urged others to support the Mayor's Charity.
Cllr Bradney, who owns Ely's Atrium Club also pledged his support to the Mayor's Olympic Initiative, launched last year, and urged everyone to take part in physical exercise,
"I want to encourage all young people to find pleasure in walking, dancing, running, just to enjoy life more and keep themselves healthy, so I will support local clubs and associations as much as I am able," he said.
Cllr Bradney succeeds Cllr John Ison who has stepped down from Ely City Council and plans to retire to the coast in four week's time.