A beach in Aberdeenshire has been made more accessible after a community trust bought in a specialist wheelchair ahead of plans to purchase more.
With support from the local council and charity PAMIS, Belhelvie Community Trust spent £3,200 on a Hippocampe chair and hopes to purchase more.
The wheelchair, which is sold by Delichon and through other dealer channels, has balloon-shaped wheels which allow it to traverse soft sand and it features a corrosion-resistant frame to withstand sea salt.
The equipment will be rented out on Balmedie beach and funds are currently being raised to expand the fleet, in similar fashion to beaches around the country.
The idea for the new rental service was put forward by a local mother Laura Henry, whose 13-year-old son Ben Henry has cerebral palsy.
She told the Press and Journal: “When you go on to the really soft sand, you just can’t get the wheelchair through it.
“Some people need to take oxygen tanks and other equipment, and the weight of the chair is so heavy there’s absolutely no way you can push it over sand.
“It’s really sad as a ‘regular’ family wouldn’t think twice about this.
“But other families who have able-bodied children with them can’t all go to the beach either – you have to have two sections where one stays away from the water as they can’t go on the sand. So a chair like this is a small thing which can make a big difference.”
Meanwhile, Belhelvie Community Trust’s secretary, Rosie Nicol, said: “There are a lot of problems here because the beach has moving sand dunes, and is not a static beach like others. So we have got to take this on board and see if we can help.”