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Adapted Vehicle News Updates: Entrepreneur starts business by adapting his wheelchair into a lawnmower

A 20-year-old from Wales with a rare form of muscular dystrophy has overcome challenges in getting work by setting up his own lawn-mowing business, reports This is South Wales.

Simon Wakelin suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which causes muscle degeneration and increasing difficulty in walking, eventually requiring use of a wheelchair.

He says his condition has made it difficult for him to gain qualifications and employment.

With the help of a neighbour, Simon created the Simal 2, a device allowing him to attach his wheelchair to a lawnmower and to use his controls to steer the machine. The innovative idea came from his enjoyment mowing the lawn at a younger age, until his debilitating condition required him to start using a wheelchair, leaving him unable to use a conventional lawnmower.

The Simal 2 is now enabling Simon to mow his neighbours’ lawns and earn money at the same time.

Bobby Ancil, project manager of the muscular dystrophy campaign Trailblazers, told This is South Wales: “This is great news that Simon has set up his own business. However, it is extremely disheartening to know he has been put in this position in the first place.

“In 2012, it is shocking that young disabled people should find themselves unable to pursue qualifications or break into the job market because of the perceptions of their disability.

“We need colleges, universities and employers to see people’s individual skills and merits before their disability.”

In other news, the number of adults with an impairment or illness playing sport every week has increased from 1.32 million to 1.66 million, according to Sport England’s Active People Survey.

Adapted Vehicle Hire helps disabled motorists and carers with their adapted car needs. Click here to find out more.