Disabled gran scores stairlift for Sidmouth Rugby Club

Sidmouth rugby club President Derek Marchant with Joy Seward and Chairman Mark Seward at the opening

Sidmouth rugby club President Derek Marchant with Joy Seward and Chairman Mark Seward at the opening of their new stair lift. Photo by Terry Ife ref shs 1003-16-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

SIDMOUTH Rugby Club has celebrated scoring a stairlift - thanks to the efforts of a disabled great-grandmother who was inspired to help other elderly people enjoy the venue.

Joy Seward, who suffers from arthritis, raised £1,000 towards the mobility aid to benefit those who struggle to reach the first-floor facilities at the Heydons Lane clubhouse.

Reigning Citizen of the Year Joy, 80, is a lifelong club patron, along with her husband Colin, and was fittingly the first person to use the new piece of kit.

Joy can remember taking her son, Mark, to the rugby club when he was seven years old. He is now its chairman and was on hand to mark the occasion on Saturday.

Joy, of Bedford Square, described the addition of the stairlift as ‘absolutely wonderful’.

She said: “I was delighted because there was a man in a wheelchair who was able to get upstairs - and I’m sure there are going to be a lot of people who will find it a blessing.”

Mark said the club was ‘delighted’ and added of his mum: “She’s extremely enthusiastic about rugby.

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“The club is run by volunteers and raises money through its activities, but it is always difficult to find funds like that [for the stairlift], but she got a substantial donation to make it happen.

“People can now access the upper bar where a lot of our social functions take place – irrespective of their ability to climb stairs.”

Club president Derek Marchant, who was also present at the unveiling, said: “We’ve got a couple of disabled members who couldn’t make it up the stairs, and now they can join in the activities which is what it is all about. It will be used, I’m sure. We’re very pleased.”

Joy, who retired from decades of sterling Sidmouth in Bloom duties after 40 years in 2011, has vowed her fundraising antics will continue.

She said: “I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and think of something else that I can get money for. I shall have another project – my limbs aren’t working, but my brain still is.”