Housebound Sutton boy with rare illness can now enjoy the sunshine thanks to garden ramp fundraiser

A 12-year-old Sutton boy with a rare disability is now able to enjoy the sunshine and play with his friends thanks to community efforts to build him a ramp.

By Dale Spridgeon
Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 7:15 am

Ashfield School pupil Riley Priestley was diagnosed with potentially life-limiting Duchenne muscular dystrophy at the age of six and has been in a wheelchair since he was eight.

And as a power wheelchair user, he was housebound for more than a year due to shielding from Covid-19 and because of the steep steps which access his family’s bungalow.

Sadly, things got worse for Riley when he broke both legs in a home accident in November last year.

Sutton youngster Riley Priestley,12, on his new ramp

His mum, 38-year-old Stacey Priestley, previously told Chad how her family had endured an ‘horrific year’.

Since then, efforts by family, friends and Ashfield fundraising dancing teenager Ruth Lamb have amassed £3,000 to build Riley a ramp – and the recently completed block-paved pathway now gently zig-zags into the garden.

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Stacey: “We had such an horrific year. Riley’s illness, then the accident knocked his confidence, then having to stay in because of Covid. He could only sit by the door, he couldn’t go in the garden because of the steps. It was no fun for a youngster stuck inside watching us going outside.

Riley Priestley playing with Suki his pet dog.

"He’s thrilled to bits with the ramp. He was a bit nervous going down it first time, but they had put in coping stones and raised the wall making it extra safe and he had no problems – he whizzed back.

"He can now go outdoors to join family and friends in garden barbecues and picnics, and play ball games with Suki our Staffie cross and his dad Stephen. It’s fantastic.

“Riley is so courageous, he’s had to adapt to his illness and it took away things he could do.

"He used to kick a ball around, now he lives each day as it comes and does his best to enjoy life.

The steep steps into the Priestley family bungalow as they were before the ramp.

"Being able to go into the sunshine has done him a world of good, as a family we’re able to make happy memories.

"Thanks everyone, the community, family, friends and to Ruth did a fantastic job.”

Ruth, 15, a pupil at the Christine March School of Dance, who challenged herself to do 11 challenges over 11 days in February, regularly organises fundraising activities.

Ruth Lamb, 15, who helped raise funds for the new ramp for Riley.