Charity champion 'Wheely Lee' to get new wheelchair following football club donation ahead of Great North Run
Lee Williamson, who only has the use of one arm and leg after suffering four strokes 13 years ago, is taking on three of the region’s biggest sporting events, including the Great North Run next month.
The 48-year-old, who is originally from South Shields but now lives in Penshaw, Sunderland, is raising money for the mental health charity Mind.
However, friends have been undertaking a fundraising campaign of their own to buy a new wheelchair for Lee, who requires an operation after the race to fuse his spine,
The drive was kicked off by Lee's old Redwell Comprehensive School friend Steve Thompson, who has just completed a 1,100km bike ride in eight days in Germany and will take part in the Great North Run alongside Lee.
The campaign was short of its £3,000 target figure before South Shields Football Club and its Foundation made a significant donation.
Any money left over will be split between the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust and Horsley Hill Boxing Club.
South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson said: "Steve made contact with the club and Foundation and described the amazing commitment he has made to raise money for his friend Lee.
"Given the role of the football club and the Foundation in the community, we wanted to help.
"We wish Steve, Lee and everyone else involved all the very best moving forward and we hope they continue to get all the assistance they need."
Steve, who now lives in Hemer, Germany, said: "When I found out Lee needed a new chair, I wanted to do anything I could to take the burden of the cost away from him.”
He added: "We have had so many generous donations and are hugely grateful for all of the support.
"The substantial contribution of the football club and SSFC Foundation got us over the line and we can't thank them enough for what they have done.
"It's a fantastic gesture which shows once again that they have the community at heart."