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Aiming for the Stars

Hethersett sporting youngster Max Bode will soon be aiming for the stars thanks to the support of local people. 

Max suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a severe muscle wasting condition, which has confined him to a wheelchair from the age of 13. That hasn’t stopped him from enjoying sport – firstly basketball and now wheelchair football. 

Max is a member of the Norwich City Power Chair Football team which pits its skills against some of the top teams in the country. Up to now he has competed in an electronic chair that has not had the necessary mobility to be really effective. 

So in stepped the organisers of Hethersett’s summer ball. They have donated over £1100 from this year’s event and other donations from Norfolk Fire Service, Hethersett King’s Head and the Joseph Patrick Trust – the welfare trust of the Muscular Dystrophy campaign - mean that shortly Max will take possession of a brand new sports chair. 

Max, who is 16 and a student of fine arts at Norwich City College, played wheelchair basketball for four years and was a member of the successful Norwich Lowriders team which reached the finals of a national competition. 

“As my condition is progressive I realised I had only a limited time in which to play basketball. I was introduced to power chair football which I absolutely love and I get a real thrill from playing such a high speed game,” Max said. 

His new competition chair will be faster and have a smaller turning circle – ideal for the rigours of indoor four a side wheelchair football. It will also have a fan to cool the batteries and a special safety guard to lesson impact. There is a good chance that power chair football could be included in the paralympic games in the near future, which has already given Max an added incentive. 

Max’s mum Kerry is excited about the avenues the new chair will open up for her son and the additional freedom it will give him during the regular fixtures which see the top power chair football teams from throughout the country come together in Kettering for two days of competition every few months. 

“We are really grateful to everyone who has contributed towards the new chair,” Kerry said. 

Hethersett’s summer ball is held in the grounds of Hethersett Old Hall School every two years. It started life in 2000 as part of the village’s millennium celebrations. Over the past decade money raised from tickets and raffles have gone to a number of local groups and charities including the East Anglian Air Ambulance, Hethersett Parish Church, Hethersett Surgery, the Norfolk Accident Rescue Service and now Max Bode. The ball is organised by a small committee consisting of Shirley Keeley, Vic Reddington, Jeremy Lightowler and Heather Emery and they joined together with friends, family, Norfolk Fire Service and supporters of Max at Hethersett King’s Head to pass on the funds.