Community pull together to help Colne man with muscle-wasting disease

Christopher Sharpe who suffers from Friedreich Ataxia pictured with carer Deborah Robinson and landlady of the Union Exchange Maggie Owens.'Photo Ben Parsons

Christopher Sharpe who suffers from Friedreich Ataxia pictured with carer Deborah Robinson and landlady of the Union Exchange Maggie Owens.'Photo Ben Parsons

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The story of a Colne man suffering from an inherited neurological muscle-wasting disease has prompted overwhelming response from the community.

Christopher Sharpe, of Fern Street, Colne, was diagnosed with friedreich ataxia as a teenager. As he has got older, the degenerative condition has caused him to require assistance with day-to-day tasks.

The 42-year-old, whose symptoms include gradual loss of balance and problems with muscular control and speech, was last month left delighted when he purchased a second-hand mobility scooter in Colne. However, three weeks later his independence was stripped from him through no fault of his own, when it had to be seized by police due to questions over ownership.

Since the devastating news, Christopher’s carer Deborah Robinson has joined forces with The Union Exchange’s landlady Maggie Owens to organise a family friendly event and to turn something so “heartbreaking” into something positive.

It will be held at The Union Exchange, in Market Street, on Sunday, August 4th, between 2pm and midnight. In the first day of announcing “Sharpy’s Scooter Fund”, over £400 was donated by generous members of the public.

Mum-of-four Deborah (41), who has looked after Christopher for the past seven years, said: “We want to get Sharpy the best scooter to give him his independence and freedom back. Maggie has been absolutely phenomenal, and we cannot believe the generosity of people.”

Christopher, whose mum and brother both died of heart failure having also suffered with friedreich ataxia, said: “I’m excited, but I just wish I still had my scooter.”

And Maggie added: “I was heartbroken when I heard the news — I just wanted to do something. With a bit of help from local businesses and people, I know that we can make Sharpy’s life a bit better.”

Preparations for Sharpy’s event, which will include a barbeque, are now underway. Local businesses, including Melting Moments, the Arcade Cafe, Funky Gifts, Create Studio, Kirsty Howcroft’s Arti Parti Face Paints, Kaya Media, Carlos, and Intershape Gym, have donated a range of prizes for the raffle and tombola.

Entertainment will be provided throughout the day, and anybody who is willing to perform is asked to contact either Maggie or Deborah. The pair are also looking for somebody to donate a candyfloss and doughnut machine.

For more information or to make a donation ring Maggie on 07415380076 or visit www.facebook.com/maggie.owens

Deborah can be contacted on 07904035993 or by visiting www.facebook.com/ deb5s

Disabled access will be available at the event There is no entrance fee, but donations will be taken on the door.