https://www.cwu.org/news/whole-cwu-fami ... for-chris/
“I just can’t describe how much this improves my life,” says Birmingham Amal Branch member Chris Evans, after money raised in appeals organised by the union helped to pay for a new electric wheelchair and a disability-modified van.
A traumatic cycling accident in 2017 left Royal Mail lorry driver Chris completely paralysed from the shoulders down, but the standard NHS wheelchair he was provided with on his discharge from hospital left his mobility severely reduced.
“It was just a ‘pushalong’ really,” he explains, adding that the public assistance available for anything more than the absolute basics for him was extremely limited.
But fellow workers at the Birmingham VOC and members of the branch stepped in to help their comrade and, with activities including a coast-to-coast sponsored bike ride, a fund-raising black-tie event and a national CWU appeal, thousands of pounds have been raised.
And Chris feels that this has helped give him a better quality of life: “It’s given me back some more control over what I can do.
“I can get out and about, meet with friends for a drink at the pub and keep in touch.”
And the van has a specially-fitted access ramp, which allows him and his wife Yvonne to spend time out together.
Chris particularly praises his close friends Bob Titley and Stewart Fryer from Birmingham VOC, who were the “driving force” behind the fund-raising activities, as well as his workplace rep Jason Green and branch chair Lee Brosnan, who “fought a real battle for me to get a settlement with the employer.
“And I want to say a big thank you to everyone at the VOC, as well as all our Birmingham Branch members and everyone in the CWU who’s helped.”
Lee tells us that the union, following determined representations to the company, achieved a settlement including pensions and income benefits for Chris, and he also praises Jason, saying: “He’s done some great work helping Chris.”
Birmingham Amal Branch secretary Steve Reid said that “this has been a fantastic response for Chris by the whole union and the whole CWU family.
“As a big family, we look after our won – and we’re helping Chris as much as we can.”