Avid Blackburn Rovers FC supporter, Dr Michael Bolton, has been able to continue attending home games thanks to his new WHILL Model C powerchair from TGA.
A retired GP, Michael is a wheelchair user after developing motor neuropathy and mobility difficulties whilst living on the Isle of Mull. This resulted in relocating back to Blackburn a year ago to an accessible later living apartment which is future proofed for his needs.
"I absolutely love my WHILL Model C – it is so comfortable and so manoeuvrable,” Michael says. “I find its design is always a talking point, people say to me, wow, how does that work? I sneak into spaces I would never dream of doing in any of my other wheelchairs.
“I first saw the WHILL in TGA's Freedom newsletter and a subsequent test drive confirmed it was the ideal product for my needs,” he adds. “I already owned a larger TGA Breeze S4 scooter for accessing the local town and countryside, however I needed a solution that was more transportable in the car or on the train.
“I haven't owned my WHILL for long, but it is already perfect for use in and around my apartment block. I can access the lift to pick up my newspaper and I have tried it up and down the long hill to the village – it matched the performance of my Breeze with dignity. I can just drive straight into the doctors or shops and do not need to park up outside and then transfer to crutches."
Michael's WHILL from TGA has made everyday living better however the main reason for ownership was for easier attendance at Ewood Park. He has even had his powerchair customised so it displays the colours of Blackburn Rovers. "I go to the Rovers in the car with my brother however my previous folding powerchair was just too heavy,” Michael explains. “The WHILL is so different. We get it in and out of the boot with ease and when you arrive at Ewood Park there is always a team of people to help you. The accessibility at the ground is fantastic as there is a dedicated entrance so you can drive straight to the touchline at the Jack Walker stand. Stewards are always standing by to assist the 'wheelchair mob' especially if you need to go to the loo."
But Michael isn’t just intent on going to football matches. "I am really looking forward to the football season so I can benefit from having my WHILL,” he says. “Before this though I travelled to Old Trafford to watch Lancashire play cricket. It's pretty easy to get to the ground on the train from Clitheroe station which is fully accessible and then onto the Manchester trams. You simply drive onto the wheelchair symbol on every platform and wait, when the tram comes along, you are in the exact spot to trundle straight on and park in the wheelchair bay – so convenient. When at the ground, access is really good with a wheelchair friendly lift, so you watch the action from a higher vantage point.
“I'm sure with my WHILL a day out will be far more rewarding. My grandson thinks my WHILL is absolutely amazing and loves me using the remote-control app. What fun."