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Bid to get disabled England-capped footballer back into the game he loves

Harry Boddy, middle.
Harry Boddy, middle.

A South Tyneside man capped by England in a special type of football is appealing for support to raise money to resume his playing career.

Harry Boddy, 25, of Vespasian Street, South Shields, sufferers from a debilitating form of muscular dystrophy that has left him wheelchair bound.

Harry Boddy with the England team and staff at an England training camp at St George's Park in Burton last year.

Harry Boddy with the England team and staff at an England training camp at St George's Park in Burton last year.

But he has an outlet for his illness through Powerchair Football, a game played by people with disabilities.

He began playing almost a decade ago and excelled, becoming a regular for Newcastle-based Northern Thunder, one of the country’s top teams.

The pharmaceutical company worker also won an England call-up to play in a tournament overseas.

However, technological progress means the electronic chair he uses in games has become outdated, leaving him unable to play for the past two seasons.

Harry is desperate to raise £7,000 to buy a modern Strikeforce Powerchair, which would allow him to get him back into the game he loves – and is appealing for help.

He said: “Being confined to a wheelchair, but without any outlet for my competitiveness, was a very frustrating experience.

“This was until Powerchair Football was suggested to me when I was in school nine years ago.

“It has been a big commitment in my life and I played in the national league and had international commitments, all of which were self-funded.

“But my current chair is not good enough for me to compete in or to attain my full potential, which I believe is to play again for England.

“I really hope that people will support me and help me to be able to buy a new chair.”

Harry suffers from central core myopathy, which has a debilitating effect on his muscles.

Strikeforce Powerchairs are made in the US and used by leading players - but carry a hefty price tag.

With Northern Thunder, he has won the premier league and cup three times, and was also twice the team’s top scorer.

Powerchair Football is played indoors on a basketball court, and team consists of up to eight players, four of whom are on the pitch at any time.

It is governed by the Wheelchair Football Association, which was founded in 2005 and recognised by the Football Association.

Anyone who would like to donate can do so at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/harry-boddy