A SPORTY schoolboy with a muscular disease will be able to play freely with his friends after he was presented with a wheelchair.

Patrick O’Donovan was presented with a lightweight wheelchair by children’s charity Variety and Veolia Water Technologies at the company’s High Wycombe office last week.

The ten-year-old has Hereditary Familial Spastic Paraparesis – which results in reduced strength and a limited range of movement, particularly in the legs, for people who suffer with it.

It means PJ, who won a national dressage competition in 2012 and plays wheelchair basketball, struggles to walk with crutches and is easily knocked over when playing with his friends – until now.

PJ’s mother, Fiona O’Donovan, said: “This new wheelchair will make such a difference to PJ’s mobility and give him significantly greater independence.

“He’s such a bright and active child and now he has the freedom to play with friends without worry.

“We’re thankful for all the effort that has been put into fundraising by Veolia and to Variety for facilitating the donation.”

Veolia employees have so far raised £11,000 for Variety – it’s charity of choice for this year – through auctions and cake sales.

Katherine Packham from Veolia said: “Meeting PJ and knowing that he now has the opportunity to continue in activities with his friends is a truly rewarding experience.

“Staff are particularly happy to be given the opportunity to support individuals and to meet them personally to see what a difference their contributions are making.”