Charity Corner: the local charity supplying 36,000 wheelchairs worldwide
Apr 10, 2022
Milton Frary, founder and chairman of Wheelchair Foundation UK

Since setting up in 2003, Wheelchair Foundation UK has shipped more than 36,000 wheelchairs to people around the world who cannot afford them.

The charity was set up by Milton Frary who lives in Little Ribston, near Spofforth. Mr Frary has been part of Rotary Club of Wetherby & District for decades and a rotary conference in Texas sparked the idea.

After hearing from another charity in the US doing this kind of work, he knew his Rotary connections would help him set up something similar in the UK.

The charity has shipped containers full of wheelchairs to African countries such as Kenya, Nigeria and Botswana, as well as to Serbia and Poland in Europe.

An elderly lady in Kitwe, Zambia being brought to a central collection point to receive her wheelchair.

Mr Frary says that with Rotary being an international organisation, he is able to contact groups worldwide to identify local need.

In recent years, Mr Frary has joined forces with PhysioNet. Together the charities send new and second-hand wheelchairs as well as other medical equipment, such as Zimmer frames and hospital beds, to foreign countries.

Some recipients in Mozambique.

He says seeing the smiles on people’s faces and hearing the screams of glee keeps him determined to fundraise more.

“We have delivered to 31 countries now. Wherever there is a need we will do our best to help.

“When we first started the World Health Organisation said there were 150 million people in need of wheelchairs, this is the biggest understatement I’ve heard because they haven’t included the elderly. It’s mind boggling when you understand the need.”

Two boys in Botswana after receiving their wheelchairs and blankets.

Mr Frary said the charity is always seeking donations of second-hand wheelchairs and walking aids, which it can then service and send abroad.

To contact Mr Frary about a donation, email [email protected].


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