Popular beach wheelchairs to roll out across north Norfolk

Helen Bowmer with mum, Wanna, using one of the beach wheelchairs at Cromer. 

Helen Bowmer with mum, Wanna, using one of the beach wheelchairs at Cromer. - Credit: Supplied by Victor Bowmer

Their wheels would look at home on a Mars rover. 

And the terrain these specially-designed wheelchairs have to navigate can be as rugged as the red planet: north Norfolk's shingle beaches. 

North Norfolk District Council has bought the wheelchairs for use on Cromer and Sheringham beaches. 

North Norfolk District Council has bought the wheelchairs for use on Cromer and Sheringham beaches. - Credit: North Norfolk District Council

Two of the beach wheelchairs - which cost  £2,634 each -  have had a warm reception since being made available to visitors to Cromer and Sheringham beaches over summer. 

And now Virginia Gay, North Norfolk District Council's portfolio holder for leisure, wellbeing and culture, said more beaches are set to benefit. 

North Norfolk district councillor Virginia Gay, portfolio holder for leisure, wellbeing and culture,

North Norfolk district councillor Virginia Gay, portfolio holder for leisure, wellbeing and culture. - Credit: Supplied by Virginia Gay

"We are considering rolling them out to other beaches in north Norfolk because of the really warm reception that they've had," she said.

"We thought they would be a good idea and be welcomed, but the response has surprised us with how positive it has been."

Mrs Gay said Mundesley and Sea Palling - which are also 'Blue Flag' beaches - could be next to get the wheelchairs, but there had also been interest expressed in having one at Bacton. 

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"It is important to make sure first of all that any new beach wheelchairs may be safely stored in a convenient location," she added.

Victor Bowmer and his daughter Helen, using one of the beach wheelchairs at Cromer. 

Victor Bowmer and his daughter Helen, using one of the beach wheelchairs at Cromer. - Credit: Supplied by Victor Bowmer

Helen Bowmer with mum, Wanna, using one of the beach wheelchairs at Cromer. 

Helen Bowmer with mum, Wanna, using one of the beach wheelchairs at Cromer. - Credit: Supplied by Victor Bowmer

Among the fans of the new wheelchairs have been Victor and Wanna Bowmer and their daughter Helen, 35, from Cambridge. 

Mr Bowmer said it had been a thrill for them to be able to go right up to the waves  - an experience they had never before been able to share so easily with their daughter, a lifelong wheelchair user.

He said: "The wheels are so big you can ride over all of the rocks without any problems at all. I'd never been able to take her onto the beach before without having to carry her. 

A beach wheelchair on Cromer beach.

A beach wheelchair on Cromer beach. - Credit: North Norfolk District Council

"There are some limitations on it - it depends how mobile the person is - but for us it was ideal and I'd definitely recommend it."

Mr Bowmer said the wheelchair had drawn a lot of interest from people who had seen Helen use it on the beach. 

The wheelchairs are free to hire and can be booked online at www.north-norfolk.gov.uk/tasks/your-community/book-a-beach-wheelchair

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