Stevenage couple’s thanks to strangers on Great Ashby Facebook group who responded to wheelchair plea

Claire Hempsted is so grateful to strangers who helped source a wheelchair for her fiance Simon Coop

Claire Hempsted is so grateful to strangers who helped source a wheelchair for her fiance Simon Cooper. - Credit: Archant

When an appeal was made to find a wheelchair for a severely ill man from Stevenage, a group of strangers rallied round and showed community spirit at its best.

Simon Cooper, of Blackdown Close in Great Ashby, has cystic fibrosis and is fighting lung cancer, as well as having had a liver and double lung transplant.

The 33-year-old musician often struggles with fatigue and one particular day just didn’t have the energy to even walk out of his front door.

His fiancee, 34-year-old Claire Hempsted, turned to social media for help and posted on the Great Ashby Community Facebook page: “Hi, can anyone help us and lend us a wheelchair for today? My partner wanted to get out but has no energy and is tired. He has cancer. Please help.”

Claire was delighted by the response she got to her post, with several concerned strangers offering to help. Some suggested where a wheelchair may be sourced, while one woman said she could go and collect a wheelchair if one was found that they could use.

A further two people offered to lend a wheelchair, while one woman said she had a wheelchair that was used when her mother had cancer and that Claire and Simon could keep it. She even offered to drop it off at their home.

Claire, who is Simon’s carer as well as being a support worker for adults with learning difficulties, said: “That day Simon had no energy and was tired. He likes to get out of the house. I put up a post on the Facebook page and saw great community spirit. We now have a wheelchair to keep and I have made a friend.”

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Simon, who is getting married to Claire in December next year, is planning a charity event in October in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.