26 February 2004
A Premiership football club has come to the aid of a multiple sclerosis sufferer who had his motorised wheelchair stolen.
Manchester City players including Nicolas Anelka, Robbie Fowler and Trevor Sinclair signed a shirt to help Stephen Smith get new transport.
Cricket club patrons have organised an auction featuring the shirt at the end of February to help Stephen, 44, of Cobb Avenue, Lupset.
Mr Smith is a lifelong fan of Manchester City and patrons of St Michael's Cricket Club asked the Premiership side to donate.
His wife Angela said: "It's lovely. There is that much happening at the moment, we can't believe it. I didn't think we'd get something like that, I don't know what to say.
"It's unbelievable that everybody has done so much for us. A few friends started it off but we never expected to get up to this level. It's smashing."
Thieves took Mr Smith's motorised chair from the cricket club before Christmas. His wife, also disabled, has had to push him around in a normal wheelchair.
Club patrons have organised the auction, to take place at the club on Saturday February 28 at 7.30pm, to raise cash for a replacement chair.
Auction organiser Karen Sweeney said: "I was over the moon about us getting the Manchester City shirt. It was absolutely fantastic and will certainly help bring people to the club for the auction. It's totally fabulous."
Miss Sweeney said the club had already raised nearly £2,000 through donations from local individuals and groups.
Other things donated to the auction include two signed footballs from Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham United, and a signed rugby ball from Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
And Normanton-based company Allcare Mobility loaned a motorised chair
to Mr Smith on January 16 after reading about his plight in the Express.
Copyright © 2004, Johnston Press New Media