No beach fun for Harry, Rus­sell and Char­lotte

Waiheke Marketplace - - Front Page - DI­ANA WOR­THY

A group of dis­abled peo­ple on the is­land are ap­peal­ing for help so they can get on the beach.

Quadru­ple am­putee Char­lotte Clev­erly-bis­man, dou­ble am­putee Rus­sell Schus­ter and Harry Grims­dale, who is on crutches, can only watch from a dis­tance as peo­ple swim and have fun.

Their wheel­chairs and crutches get stuck as soon as they reach the sand.

Teenager Clev­er­ley-bis­man said it was a sit­u­a­tion she’d faced for years and had come to ac­cept that go­ing on the beach was a plea­sure de­nied to her.

Schus­ter said he’d been ad­vised by his phys­io­ther­a­pist that swim­ming would ben­e­fit his con­di­tion.

But with­out a com­mu­nity pool on the is­land, and un­able to get on the beach, he said it wasn’t an op­tion.

Grims­dale’s con­di­tion is tem­po­rary but he is miss­ing be­ing able to go with friends to the beach.

Now there’s a so­lu­tion for them and oth­ers who have had to forego what most take for granted. It’s called a beach ac­cess mat. Made in the USA and im­ported in Aus­tralia by Float­ing Beach Wheel­chairs, the mat is por­ta­ble and can be rolled out to cre­ate an ac­cess path onto and across the beach to the sea.

Tau­ranga Coun­cil tri­alled one on its Mount Maun­ganui main beach in De­cem­ber 2016.

It was a huge suc­cess, ac­cord­ing to coun­cil, and lo­cal busi­nesses raised enough funds to buy one in 2017.

They are not per­ma­nent fix­tures - they can be rolled up and re­moved in min­utes.

Made of polyester to ac­com­mo­date un­du­lat­ing sur­faces, the light­weight Ac­cess­mat can be car­ried by two peo­ple.

A 1.5m x 30m sec­tion would take around 10 min­utes to set up.

Char­lotte’s mother, Pam Clev­er­ley, is ap­peal­ing to the com­mu­nity and busi­nesses for help in get­ting one and has launched a givealit­tle page.

‘‘The Ac­cess­mat kit costs ap­prox­i­mately $15,000 NZD for 60 me­tres (2 x 15m, 3 x 10m), which in­cludes grom­mets, pegs and so on,’’ she said. ‘‘It would make a huge dif­fer­ence to a num­ber of peo­ple, in­clud­ing those with pushchairs and the el­derly.

‘‘If Tau­ranga can do it, then surely Wai­heke can.’’

See givealit­tle.co.nz/cause/ beaches-for-ev­ery­one-wai­heke­pro­ject# for more de­tails and to do­nate.

‘‘If Tau­ranga can do it, then surely Wai­heke can’’ - Pam Clev­er­ley.

The ramp at One­tangi Beach is the near­est it gets to the sea and sand for peo­ple like Harry Grims­dale, Rus­sell Schus­ter and Char­lotte Clev­er­ley-bis­man. DI­ANA WOR­THY/NZSTUFF

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