United Kingdom

Boy, 13, with brain injury launches campaign to save activity centre for disabled people

A boy who suffered a catastrophic brain injury at just two days old has launched a campaign to save an activity centre for disabled people. 

Oliver Voysey, 13, from Newcastle upon Tyne, is raising money for the Lake District Calvert Trust activity centre, which allows people with disabilities to enjoy the benefits of outdoor activities in a safe and accessible, yet challenging environment.

Oliver was left blind, with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism and learning difficulties after his brain injury, but with specialist help at the centre is able to take part in activities such as rock climbing and canoeing.  

Appearing on This Morning, his mother Sarah told that his birthday wish was to save the centre, which has lost nearly £1million in income due to the pandemic and is now threatened with closure.

She explained the centre allowed them to 'build memories together'. 

Oliver Voysey, 13, from Newcastle upon Tyne, pictured with his parents Sarah and Gary and sister Elizabeth, suffered a catastrophic brain injury at just two days

Oliver is undergoing a series of challenges to raise money for Calvert Trust's Lake District activity centre for people with disabilities

Speaking of the centre she said: 'It's beautiful, they have adapted accommodation, specialist equipment and highly trained staff. 

'The combination of those three things means when we visit there, all of Oliver's disabilities melt away.' 

Sarah admitted that its difficult to do things together due to Oliver's condition, but that the centre means they're able to spend time as a 'family unit'. 

'When you have a brain injury in a family, try as you might, the injury does cause a fracture in the family,' she said. 

'So often I'm doing something with Oliver, while Gary is doing something with Elizabeth and vice versa. 

Oliver was left blind, with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism and learning difficulties after his brain injury but with specialist help at the centre is able to undergo various activities

'It means we're two family units but when we're at the Calvert Trust we're there together and we're building memories together.' 

Oliver's dad Gary added: 'We have a really close bond as a family but only after we go to a place like the Cavalier Trust where we've done things together, it makes the bond so much closer. 

'You don't appreciate that until it's happened and there will be lots of families out there who haven't been able to experienced this and we want to help them do so in the future.' 

Sarah admitted to hosts Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield (both pictured) that its difficult to do things together due to Oliver's condition, but that the centre means they're able to spend time as a 'family unit'

Oliver celebrated his 13th birthday this week, and Sarah explained that saving the centre was one of his birthday wishes, alongside another puppy

Oliver celebrated his 13th birthday this week, and Sarah explained that saving the centre was one of his birthday wishes, alongside another puppy.   

'We had two birthday wishes, one was for another puppy and the second was to save the Calvert Trust who have lost a million pounds in income,' she said.  'We thought it was easier to try and save the Calvert Trust than to get another puppy.' 

Oliver will complete 13 challenges in order to raise money, doing things he finds 'really difficult' such as standing still for 13 seconds. 

Viewers quickly took to Twitter to praise the boy and wish him luck with his campaign, with one hailing him a 'super star'. 

Viewers quickly took to Twitter to praise the boy and wish him luck with his campaign, with one hailing him a 'super star'

Presenter India Willoughby wrote: 'What a star! Love Oliver.Got a great family around him. Lucky to have visited the Calvert Trust Activity Centre - great facility. Good luck with your campaign Oliver!' 

Another viewer agreed: 'Oliver was brilliant this morning. Such a lovely family.'  

A third agreed: 'He’s super. I visited the Calvert trust with our WI a couple of years ago. Fantastic place doing fantastic work. It will be a travesty if it has to close.' 

Another gushed: 'What an absolutely incredible and lovely boy Oliver is. Amazing achievements.' 

Learn more about Oliver's campaign here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/olivers-calvert-army  

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