Weight lifter left with spinal injuries

Jonathan and Rosemary Clapton who are raising funds for a suitable wheelchair. (1307304AM1)

Jonathan and Rosemary Clapton who are raising funds for a suitable wheelchair. (1307304AM1)

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A former weight lifter is on his way to raising £4,000 to fund a state-of-the-art wheelchair after an accident left him with devastating spinal injuries.

Jonathan Clapton, 35, used to be a national weight lifting champion and represented Ripon City School, now Outwood Academy, in football – but since slipping off a ladder and hitting his head at work last year, Mr Clapton has been hospitalised for five months and now relies on a wheelchair for mobility .

“It’s all quite tragic,” said Mrs Clapton, who is now her husband’s full-time carer.

“We were trying for a baby before the accident and now we are uncertain about what the options for conceiving will be in the future.”

Describing the accident in November, Mrs Clapton, 31, explained how her self-employed stove and chimney fitter husband was working on a roof at a house in Harrogate when he slipped and fell.

His fall was broken on the way down by a conservatory – but Mr Clapton hit his head and landed on his back, and paramedics told his wife of two years they had him down as dead on arrival.

“Although he has a spinal cord injury, I was told that he didn’t have brain damage, which was a great relief,” said Mrs Clapton.

“After several hospital stints at Harrogate Distrcit Hospital, Leeds General Infirmary and Wakefield’s Pinderfield Hospital, Mr Clapton is now back at home in Ripon making a remarkable recovery.

But Mr Clapton is currently loaning an NHS Kuschall K4 wheelchair, which is not suitable for his dimensions and has only one brake.

What’s more, the wheelchair prevents him from going to gigs, music festivals and anywhere off-road.

“It is very limited,” said Mrs Clapton.

“That’s why we launched Jonny’s Wheelchair Fund, to fulfill his dreams of a Mountain Trike.

“Due to his sporty nature, Jonny has ambitions to venture off-road, go to Fountains Abbey, go on country walks or even just visit the park. The new model could enable him to get a little bit of his life back.”

So far the couple have raised more than half of their £4,000 wheelchair fund total, with events such as a swimming challenge involving local youngsters.

“We are really touched by all of the support,” said Mrs Clapton. “We are hoping with the new wheelchair Jonny can get active again – and maybe even compete in the Paralympics one day.”

– Visit www.facebook.com/JonnysWheelchairFund