Park problems for wheelchair man

A DISABLED man desperately trying to lose weight since reaching a record-breaking 62 stone is today devastated he cannot fit his over-sized wheelchair through the gates of an Ipswich park.

A DISABLED man desperately trying to lose weight since reaching a record-breaking 62 stone is today devastated he cannot fit his over-sized wheelchair through the gates of an Ipswich park.

Paul Mason is unable to fit his 1metre wide wheelchair through the gates at Orwell Country Park, where Ipswich Borough Council has recently installed a K-Barrier gate designed to prevent motorbikes getting in the park.

Mr Mason, who has featured in the Evening Star for his food addiction, subsequent morbid obesity and attempts to lose weight, said he feels angry and frustrated.

He said: “I even went down to the other gate to try to get in but it doesn't matter which entrance you go into.


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“Even my friend, who's in a normal sized wheelchair, has problems getting through the entrance as it hits her head.

“I would use it a lot if I could because I enjoy photography and I'd be able to go down to the River Orwell.”

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Mr Mason, who now weighs 45 stone, has met with Ipswich Borough Council's legal representative, Paul Turner, to try to come up with a solution.

A council spokesman said: “The K-Barriers do comply with government legislation and they allow access to the park for wheelchairs but there is a problem with this wheelchair because it's too wide.

“We want to help Mr Mason as much as we can. If he wants to gain access to the park he can contact our park ranger or our patrol staff for assistance.”

At his lowest point, Mr Mason used to eat three family-sized takeaway's everyday - consuming around 20,000 calories.

But he says those days are now behind him.

He said: “I don't have any takeaway food at all now and I used to have a roast dinner on a Sunday as a treat, but I've knocked that on the head as well.

“You've got to change your mind set, when you've got a food addiction, you can't have treats with food. My treat is the way I feel now really.”

N Do you think the new gate is a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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