A special day out for Liam and his friends

Liam on his outing to Dunnottar Woods with Simon and pony Obama
Liam on his outing to Dunnottar Woods with Simon and pony Obama

A young Mearns man with disabilities has enjoyed a special birthday treat.

Liam Thom and his friends from The Bungalow care home in Stonehaven were recently taken for a trip through Dunnottar Woods by Pony Axe S.

Simon Mulholland with his wheelchair carrier hooked up to pony Obama allows people to experience places they normally cannot access, such as beaches and woodland paths.

Liam, 23, has Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD). He lives with Jenny and Dave Whinnett in St Cyrus under the Shared Lives Scheme, but visits his family regularly.

He has a Self Directed Support package managed by his mother to enable his life in the community, and she and Jenny have organised a range of activities that he enjoys, and support his development.

When Liam, who has the condition Emanuel Syndrome, left school at 18 he was enrolled into Angus College Smart Sports course - a sport in which all individuals can take part.

It is based on the Special Olympics Motor Activity Training Programme (MATP), with participants working on self improvement rather than competing against others.

Liam has been training for five years, supported by his tutor Wendy Dukes, who recognised that people with PMLD experience life-long development.

Last August, he achieved two gold medals at the 40th Anniversary Commemorative Special Olympic Games, held at Stirling University. It was a unique achievement for a young man with PMLD.

Last month, at the Angus Alive Sports Awards special evening held at Reid Hall, Forfar, Liam was presented with the award for Sports Personality of the Year for a Person with a Disability 2019.

It was awarded to mark his sporting achievement at the Special Olympics Commemorative Games.

Jenny said: “For Liam’s birthday, we decided that we would like to celebrate his sporting success with his friends, so we invited Pony Axe S to come and take Liam and his friends from The Bungalow for a ride through Dunnotter Woods.

“It was also supported by staff from PAMIS, the organisation that promotes the inclusion of people with PMLD into the community. and the Pamiloo, a transportable fully accessible changing facility that helps to meet the personal care needs of Liam and many other individuals in our community that need this kind of resource.

“The day was a great success for Liam and his friends.”