Mother of disabled Larne boy ‘overwhelmed’ by fundraising efforts

Joan McToal, Kain McWhirter, Vivien Stubbs and Lesley-Ann McWhirter from Larne Masonic Centre present Karen Spiers and her Son Finlay with a cheque for �8,500 to help purchase Finlay a special bike to help him get about better. INLT 49-265-AM
Joan McToal, Kain McWhirter, Vivien Stubbs and Lesley-Ann McWhirter from Larne Masonic Centre present Karen Spiers and her Son Finlay with a cheque for �8,500 to help purchase Finlay a special bike to help him get about better. INLT 49-265-AM

Tributes have been paid to a group of kind-hearted fundraisers who helped make a diabled Larne boy’s dreams come true.

Seven-year-old Finlay Spiers suffers from dystonic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, meaning he is unable to speak and is confined to a wheelchair.

In a bid to provide the youngster with a semblance of freedom, a fundraising drive was organised to purchase a special custom tricycle to aid his mobility.

The campaign was spearheaded by St John’s Ladies fundraising group, set up to help local children who are in need of support.

Finlay’s mum Karen told the Times she was stunned by the “overwhelming” response, which saw generous local people raise a whopping £8,500 for the worthy cause.

This included an anonymous cash donation of £1,100 made a by a mystery man.

The remainder was raised at a sold-out charity night in St John’s Masonic Centre, which was attended by over 120 people and supported by more than 30 local businesses.

Expressing her gratitude to the organisers and all those who donated, Karen said: “I want to say a massive thanks to St John’s Ladies for making this all possible.

“Finlay and I have been overwhelmed by the kindness of local people and we just can’t thank everyone enough for what they have done.

“It means the world to us and this incredible sum of money will make a huge difference in our lives.”

Explaining her son’s need for a specialised bike, Karen said: “Finlay suffers a very high muscle tone, which means he is very rigid.

“I wanted to get him one of these bikes to aid his mobility, but the NHS does not provide funding for play equipment and I just couldn’t afford to buy it myself as it costs over £1,500.

“This bike will help give Finlay the childhood he deserves, by providing him with a form of exercise and enabling him to play with his friends rather than just watching from the sidelines.

“The customised bike is currently being made by a business based in Lisburn. Finlay is very excited and we are hoping to get the bike in time for Christmas.”

Karen plans to put the extra money raised to good use by creating an enclosed outdoor play area for Finlay, and also giving the Larne youngster access to music therapy.