A YOUNG cerebral palsy sufferer has his own playground for the first time - thanks to the generosity of a group of pub regulars. Marcus Jones, seven, was a virtual prisoner in his home in Sparth Avenue, Clayton-le-Moors.
He couldn't play out in the garden because of difficulties with his electric wheelchair and a severe allergy to grass. But regulars at the Lamb Inn in Whalley Road, Clayton, came to the rescue and raised £1,200 to help finance a hard play area.
They organised a weekend of sponsored events including a karaoke contest, a 24-hour pool match and a raffle. Clayton-based builders Michael and Jason Clitheroe provided their services free of charge, even though the play area in the back yard of Marcus's home took nine weeks to complete.
They had to remove a set of privet hedges, build a new wall, put down landfill and provide a new tarmac surface.
Marcus's delighted mum Michelle, 36, said: "In the end the play area cost £3,000 which was way over the original estimate. I had to cancel a fortnight's holiday in Spain to provide the rest of the money and also borrow some money from my father. But Marcus is thrilled with the play area as he can ride round on a specially-designed bike and a go-kart. Before this he was really a prisoner in the house.''
Marcus uses his electronically-controlled wheelchair to move around the classroom at All Saints Primary School, Clayton. He has also taken up disco dancing lessons of the Royal Dance Club in Clayton, learning the art of doing the dance steps on his knees.
He has suffered from cerebral palsy since he was a baby after being born prematurely. He has three brothers and sisters Jolan, eight, Leah, 12, and Naomi, 17.
- The Lamb Inn donated 70 per cent of the money it raised to Marcus, with the other 30 per cent going to a relative of one of the customers who suffers from muscular dystrophy.