Wheelchair appeal reached in just a day

Karen Tomkins with her daughter Kathryn.

Karen Tomkins with her daughter Kathryn.

Christmas has come early for a West Norfolk mum after an appeal to raise money for a new wheelchair reached its target in just a few hours.

Karen Tompkins cried with tears of joy when she heard the final £600 needed to replace her broken wheelchair had been raised by generous readers of the Lynn News, and its sister paper, the Fenland Citizen.

One man, who wished to remain anonymous, even donated the whole £600.

And the number of calls from kindhearted well-wishers offering support meant the total could have been raised several times over.

Karen, who suffers with a deteriorating congenital spine condition, had appealed for readers’ help in a last bid to alleviate her pain and transform her life.

Her friends and family members had spent the last 12 months raising funds to replace her broken chair, and raised almost £2,300.

Karen and her family then approached the newspapers for help as she wasn’t sure how much longer she could cope with the pain caused when using her existing chair.

Now the 38-year-old, who lives in Walsoken with her husband and full-time carer Ben and daughter Kathryn, 15, can finally look forward to getting the new wheelchair.

“I’m completely overwhelmed, it’s just incredible,” said Karen. “I cannot say thank you enough or explain what this means to me. I’m just so so grateful to everyone.”

Within hours of the story appearing in the Fenland Citizen on Wednesday, several readers had contacted our offices offering to help.

The man who offered to donate the full amount said he was currently receiving “excellent” care at an NHS hospital and wanted Karen to benefit in a similar way to him.

Then the Sunshine Club in Wisbech offered to donate a further £500 to help make her life more comfortable in any way it can.

Other residents offered to give donations from £5 to £100, with everything gratefully received.

Karen will be replacing her 13-year-old Otto Bock wheelchair with a new Otto Bock Evo chair, and will be keeping readers up-to-date with when it arrives.

Husband Ben said: “She cannot wait to get it. The difference will be amazing.”