Wheelchair athlete rewarded for his charity efforts

Toby, who has been paralysed from his chest down since he was three, recently helped to generate a whopping £130,000 in one night.

A young athlete who has generated hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity has been given his own charity award.

Ten-year-old wheelchair racer Toby Sweeney-Croft from Sapcote has been presented with the Matthew Needham’s Treasure Chest Trophy for 2016 in recognition of his dedication to his chosen causes.

The award is given annually in memory of the Manorfield Primary School pupil who died of congenital heart disease in 2004, aged nine.

Fellow Manorfield pupil Toby, who has been paralysed from his chest down since suffering acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis when he was three, recently helped to generate a whopping £130,000 in one night at a business dinner in London in aid of Back Up, a charity which supports people suffering similar spinal cord injuries.

In the past year he has also taken part in a 24-hour track relay to raise money for the Arctic One Foundation, which provided him with a racing-chair similar to the kind used by his sporting idol, Paralympian David Weir.

And in a Rotary Club race he challenged able-bodied runners to beat him on the track.

Toby hit the headlines last year when he gave a basketball to Prince Harry at a WellChild Awards ceremony in London, where he was receiving an inspirational child award.

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But according to his mum Becky Sweeney, Toby considers his latest trophy to be his most precious.

It was awarded not only for his sporting achievements but for his “friendship, encouraging others and charity work” and was nominated by his teachers.

Mrs Sweeney said: “People don’t realise how much he does.”

Matthew Needham’s Treasure Chest supports families of children with congenital heart disease and other illnesses and disabilities and funds equipment at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital heart unit.

To find out more visit www.matthewneedhamstreasurechest.co.uk or follow on Facebook
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