A determined disabled rights crusader’s bid to make a South Tyneside beauty spot open to all is continuing to prove a huge online hit.
Lauren Benham launched an internet petition calling on council chiefs to install a wheelchair-friendly ramp, linking sand to sea at Sandhaven Beach, South Shields.
I have been overwhelmed by the support.Lauren Benham
The petition has already attracted nearly 900 signatures in less than two weeks – closing in on her target of 1,000.
The tenacious 21-year-old has been overwhelmed with the surge in support for her pioneering plan.
Miss Benham, from Barbour Avenue, South Shields, kick-started the plan after being left “heartbroken” by disabled friend Georgia Fountaine’s admission that she often feels like she is a burden on trips out.
Miss Benham is hoping for talks with South Tyneside Council about the access revamp once she hits her grand target.
She said: “Georgia told me that sometimes she feels like she is a burden. It was heartbreaking for me to hear that.
“I’m not usually the kind of person who would start a petition, but everyone wanted it to happen, so I took it on myself.
“I have been overwhelmed by the support.”
Tracey Dixon, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “While this idea in principle is a good one, there are a number of issues which would need to be considered, including ownership of the land and the impact of such a development on the beach’s natural function as a coastal defence.”
To view the petition, log onto www.change.org and search for Wheelchair Access at South Shields Beach.