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Former PE teacher hails Bexleyheath shopmobility service

PUBLISHED: 09:06 12 October 2015 | UPDATED: 09:06 12 October 2015

Karen Bowerman with Lorraine Stares of Bexley Accessible Transport and Christine Barton of the Broadway Shopping Centre, Bexleyheath. Picture by: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

Karen Bowerman with Lorraine Stares of Bexley Accessible Transport and Christine Barton of the Broadway Shopping Centre, Bexleyheath. Picture by: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

The former teacher was paralysed from the waist down by MS

Retail bosses have been thanked for providing a “lifeline” service to a former PE teacher, who is paralysed from the waist down.

Karen Bowerman, of The Drive, Bexley, was diagnosed with MS in 1977, and uses Broadway shopping centre’s Shopmobility service to get around the shopping centre.

Bosses at the centre have donated £6,000 to the keep the service running.

Mrs Bowerman said: “I look forward to Fridays. All the staff at Shopmobility are really nice and helpful, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to get out on my own.

“Originally I used to drive into town and hire a scooter to do my shopping, I’m no longer able to drive so my husband takes me and lifts me out of the car and on to the scooter. Then he leaves me to shop.”

The shopping centre service costs £10,000 a year to run including the servicing and administration, and provides mobility equipment including powered scooters and wheelchairs to members of the public with limited mobility.

The service is funded through charitable donations and fundraising, and has 150 registered users.

Bexley Accessible Transport Scheme (BATS) provides the service, on the roof of the Broadway Shopping Centre.

General manager of BATS, Lorraine Stares said the service would probably not be able to run without the donation: “It’s all run on the goodwill and generosity of people. Without the funding from the Broadway Shopping Centre, it would probably not be able to continue,

“It means so much to so many people. Without it, many people couldn’t go out and wouldn’t have the freedom or independence it offers.

“There’s no other Shopmobility service in the Bexley borough so it’s very valuable to those people who use it.”

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