BIG-HEARTED workers at Cadbury World have raised more than £5,000 to buy a state-of-the-art wheelchair for a young Dudley man with severe cerebral palsy.

Staff at the Bournville-based attraction have spent 12 months taking part in imaginative fundraising activities to raise £5,000 to buy 24-year-old Ashlie Coyne a new wheelchair.

Ashlie, who has spastic quadriplegia microcephaly – the most severe form of cerebral palsy, has been in the care of Barnardo’s longest serving foster carers Pat and Pete Coyne since the age of nine months old and he was eventually adopted by the couple at age 11.

Although they've dedicated their lives to helping to boost Ashlie's life chances – his previous wheelchair was uncomfortable and prevented him from travelling to see loved ones due to its dismantling challenges.

The new chair will not only be comfortable – it will also enable him to visit family and friends who live in the UK and abroad, as well as explore new places due to its lightweight design.

To help Ashlie and his family achieve their goal of getting a new wheelchair to give him a bit more freedom staff at Cadbury World dedicated the last year to pulling in the pounds for him.

From male employees getting their legs waxed, a disco and karaoke night at The Cadbury Club in Bournville and many cake sales in the staff canteen, the attraction’s employees went above and beyond to raise more than 50 per cent of the significant target before the coronavirus lockdown was announced in March.

One brave member of staff also raised £1,000 towards Ashlie’s new wheelchair by completing a 250m sky jump off the top of the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas.

Determined not to let the pandemic get in the way of their fundraising efforts, staff then got creative and seized upon activities they could still do to help them reach their goal.

Three workers therefore took the plunge and jumped out of their comfort zone with a 15,000ft sky dive, which raised £2,400 towards their £5,000 target.

Sue Fieldhouse, a front of house team member at Cadbury World, who completed the sky dive and organised many of the staff fundraising activities, said: “We are incredibly proud to have raised such a significant amount for Ashlie’s new wheelchair.

"It will give such a special young man a better quality of life, and we’re pleased to be able to play our part in raising money for Ashlie.”

Pat Coyne, Ashlie’s adopted mother, thanked all those at Cadbury World "and the wider team for their incredible donation and ongoing support for Ashlie" and she added: "We’re committed to continuing creating a fantastic life for him, and his brand-new wheelchair will allow us to travel so much more, something which he absolutely loves to do.”