June 24, 2002 05:49
By Alison Withers
THE wife of a multiple sclerosis sufferer has spoken of her anger after thieves stole her husband's wheelchair.
The electric wheelchair belonging to Sean McManus was stolen while he was carrying out a street collection for other fellow MS sufferers.
Mr McManus, 67, had paused during his street collection on Saturday to meet friends for lunch at the Felixstowe Bowls Club, Tomline Road, and parked his £3,000 wheelchair outside the club as he habitually did.
His wife and carer, Grace, 61, of Earls Close, Felixstowe, said: "He had only been in the club about ten minutes when a lad ran in and said someone had taken the chair. I'm just so upset. It's despicable.
"The chair was his independence and it was donated to him because we're on a pension and couldn't afford to buy one ourselves.
She added: "Members of the club ran out of the club but there was no sign of it. Immediately they hopped into four cars and went all round Felixstowe thinking that it would be abandoned once the batteries ran out, but there was no sign of it."
Mrs McManus, who chairs the East Suffolk Community Health Council, said friends and family searched the town later but failed to find the wheelchair.
They think that because the chair disappeared so quickly it could have been loaded onto a vehicle and taken away.
She said her husband had suffered from MS for 22 years and for the last 17 years she had given up work to look after him.
Mr McManus can only walk with the aid of a walking frame and will be house-bound without the expensive electric chair, which he described as the "Volvo" of wheelchairs.
His wife said she could not leave him alone at home all day and might have to give up her voluntary work to look after him if the chair cannot be found.
The wheelchair was a Scandinavian Spectra model with a green frame and grey upholstery and two batteries underneath.
Anyone with any information should contact Suffolk police, on 01473
613500, or Crimestoppers, on 0800 555111.
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