New wheelchair-friendly swing to be installed at Sunderland play park after loving aunt's campaign

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A Sunderland schoolboy is looking forward to summer fun thanks to his aunt’s campaign to install a wheelchair-accessible swing in a city park.

Angela Turnbull’s nine-year-old nephew Will Calvert lives with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a muscle-wasting condition that predominantly affects males and causes progressive muscle weakness. He is wheelchair bound.

Angela has been campaigning for a year to have a wheelchair-friendly swing installed at her local park and now Sunderland Council has agreed to install both the swing and an accessible roundabout in the playground next to Hylton Castle.

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Work is due to start on Monday, April 11, and should take up to three weeks.

Angela, a project manager for Newcastle Hospitals Foundation Trust, is delighted: “It is so important that all children get to enjoy public playgrounds and it will make me so happy to see Will enjoying something like this in a wheelchair,” she said.

"It is an enormous achievement. There are plenty of other children with limited mobility who will also be able to make use of this incredible equipment and that makes me smile.

"I’m hoping to get Will down there on the opening day.”

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Will Calvert's aunt Angela Turnbull has campaigned to provide accessible playground equipmentWill Calvert's aunt Angela Turnbull has campaigned to provide accessible playground equipment
Will Calvert's aunt Angela Turnbull has campaigned to provide accessible playground equipment

Will’s mum Caroline Calvert said he was looking forward to being able to enjoy the new equipment: “As a parent of a child with a muscle-wasting condition, it is very sad when they cannot join in with their peers,” she said.

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"We are so happy and grateful that this means William can feel included in his local community, playing with his friends and family.”

Angela has spent the best part of the year in regular conversation with local councillors and the authority too.

Susanne Driffield, Regional Development Manager-North of England & East Midlands at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said accessible equipment was vital in helping children with conditions like Will’s to get out and enjoy themselves: “What Angela has achieved is fantastic and will make a huge difference to local families,” she said.

"The whole family are so passionate about everything they do, and we are grateful for their continued support of the charity.”

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Angela and her family have been supporting muscle-wasting charity Muscular Dystrophy UK since Will was young. To donate, visit or

Angela’s next mission is to have accessible beach wheelchairs installed at Roker Beach.