Strictly star Anton du Beke presents Abbi from Bournville with a powered wheelchair

Written by on August 2, 2018

STRICTLY star Anton du Beke took time out of his busy schedule to present ten-year-old Abbi Bennett from Bournville with a powered wheelchair.

The presentation was made in London where Abbi had travelled to with her dad and grandma. Abbi suffers with Ulrich’s Muscular Dystrophy which affects her lower limbs and her mobility.

The powered chair was given to her by the CHIPS charity and was the 500th one the organisation had provided. It totals £2million funding from CHIPS which provides bespoke equipment that is not available on the NHS and that the parents cannot afford.

Anton said: “These wheelchairs are life-changing and it’s been an honour to be part of this wonderful achievement with CHIPS!”

Anton described Abbi as a ‘little beauty’ and she said: “Anton was really nice and kind.”

Abbi, who attends Bournville School, added: “My old powered wheel chair broke down and couldn’t be mended.

“This one is much, much better.

“The high low feature means that I can see over the counter when I’m at the shops and I can be at the same height as my friends.”

Abbi, who Anton described as a little beauty, said her old powered wheelchair broke down and could not be mended. She added the high low adjustment feature also meant she could be the same height as her friends and she could see over the counter when she went to the shops.

Gary Bennett, Abbi’s dad, said he felt hugely lucky to be put in touch with CHIPS by Abbi’s incredibly helpful physiotherapist and it had led to an all singing all dancing chair being fully funded for her.

“CHIPS has been amazing at helping to say what you can do as opposed to what you can’t.

“She loves the new chair, which she calls ‘her legs’ as it enables her more freedom to be out and about, talk to people face-to-face and race around like a little speed demon.

“We are eternally grateful to CHIPS, the proof’s in the pudding with Abbi and that’s what it’s all about, having her at the forefront of everything for our family.

“To watch her be able to be more independent and zoom around like she hasn’t got a care in the world, it’s priceless.

“This new wheelchair is all about Abbi’s independence.

“This type of chair, which isn’t available on the NHS, just provides her with so much more freedom and the simple hi/lo feature allows her to get to different heights and has made her feel equal to everybody else which is all she ever really wants.”

CHIPS’ co-founder Linda Lindsay said of the 500th powered chair: “We’re delighted to have achieved this incredible milestone and in doing so provide Abbi with the gift of freedom which so many of us take for granted.

“This wheelchair, which cost £7,000, will provide her with the freedom to move around easily and safely and includes a state-of-the-art hi/lo facility allowing her to talk to her friends and family face-to-face rather than always on a lower level.

“I’ve attended virtually every one of the 500 CHIPS wheelchair presentations and have seen how the chairs quite literally change lives, not just the children’s but the whole family as well as carers, teachers and friends.

“To reach 500 is incredibly exciting and we’re very humbled to have Anton mark this momentous occasion and help Abbi onto the next stage of her adventure.”

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