Soldier's lasting gift for Matthew

Echo: Soldier's lasting gift for Matthew Soldier's lasting gift for Matthew

A LITTLE boy with cerebral palsy has a new set of wheels thanks to a charity set up in the name of a soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Seven-year-old Matthew Perry, whose condition affects all of his limbs, has swapped his heavy wheelchair for a new one he can control himself The new wheelchair was given to Matthew by the Aaron Lewis Foundation. It means he no longer has to rely on his parents to push him around.

The charity was set up by the parents of Lieutenant Lewis, 26, of 29 Commando Unit, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan on December 15, 2008.

Helen and Barry Lewis, from Rochford, launched the foundation two years after his death.

Matthew’s mum Gemma Perry, of Biddenden Court, Basildon, said the donation of the wheelchair has made a real difference.

She said: “He can control it himself. It has really improved his independence.

"He used to have to ask to be moved about by me or his dad, but its nice to see him move between his gadgets like the TV and stereo.

“Its also brought out his cheeky side and he likes to reverse when he’s meant to go forward!”

Matthew, who has a twin brother James who is able bodied, attends Pioneer School in Basildon.

He said: “I can travel around the park and find things for myself.”

Mrs Perry added: “It’s lovely that Helen and Barry could come to the handover of the wheelchair and they can see the help they are giving.

I"t’s life changing.”

The charity raised £5,000 which paid for Matthew’s wheelchair and another for a ten-year-old girl from Essex. The wheelchairs were provided by the Whizz- Kidz charity.

The Aaron Lewis Foundation was set up to continue his aim to make a difference to the world.

In 2009, family and friends raised a combined £100,000 for a variety of charities ranging from the Army Benevolent Fund to the Plymouth Citadel Memorial Fund in memory of Aaron and fellow fallen troops.

The Aaron Lewis Foundation was created for the provision of sports facilities and equipment and to enable the rehabilitation of injured servicemen and women and others.

Aaron’s mum Helen, 57, said; “The support and fundraising of local people has helped changed the lives of two children.

“The Foundation and Whizz-Kidz are so grateful for the support and pleased to see how the donation has helped make a difference.”

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