POWER to the Pedalling Padfields: Part 3


In August 2020 David Padfield discussed with Keith Berry whether POWER PLEAS could help with funding for a Trike/Tandem to provide a further mobility experience for his son James.

The background:

  • James was diagnosed with 5Q14.3 deletion syndrome when he was nearly 12 months old. This presents (in James) as severe learning delay, hypertonia and limited communication. His parents were informed that he would probably never walk and would spend his life on his back and in a wheelchair.
  • When James was 3 his physiotherapist recommended that a bike would help with his exercise. With the help of his physiotherapist and a lot of hard work from all involved (including a sometimes disgruntled James) we managed to build his core strength up enough to get him to start crawling and then slowly to start walking. This was achieved in a massive way because of the POWER PLEAS trike being the main part of his daily exercise regime.  
  • James grew out of the first trike in 2017 and POWER PLEAS funded a second one for him. His little face still lights up with joy every time he rides the trike and he is now able to walk unaided and can even break into a sprint when he thinks it is funny to do so. He will need to continue to exercise to maintain his muscle strength.
  • His parents are immensely grateful for the opportunity that trikes have given James and have supported POWER PLEAS  through fundraising:
    The Trike/Tandem will help us as a family get out all together and will make a massive difference to James’ life. James’ little brother has now learnt to ride his bike and has become excessively fast on it!! in order to keep up with him we have to run with James on the trike, so if we had the Tandem we could all go out as a family together. The main advantage will be that the exercise duration will increase and enable us to maintain his required level of fitness.

Key points that we would need on a Trike/Tandem:

  • The trike wheel base is ideal because as James grows it will become increasingly difficult for us to control a two wheeled bike if he leans or makes sudden movements. Sarah (James’ mum) would already struggle now, but it would be impossible as he grows and gets stronger.
  • James would sit at the front of the bike so we would be able to watch what he was doing and prevent him from hurting himself. This would also stop him from doing things like sticking his fingers in the wheels, leaning over excessively and maybe being hit by things as we pass.
  • Sitting at the front would give him the sense of freedom and independence that he just doesn’t get anywhere else.
  • The electric motor will assist us when trying to pedal a massive bike and two people up the local hills.
  • You can turn James’ pedals on and off so we can control the amount of exercise that he gets and give him a rest when it’s a bit too much for him.

POWER PLEAS’ Response:

The Charity did not have funds to finance the Trike/Tandem but agreed in principle to support the project.

Several bespoke cycle makers and a few cycling clubs were asked to help but a blank was drawn.  Alan Cook, a  friend of the Charity, pointed Keith in the direction of another charitable organisation, Grid4Good. On Friday 9th October 2020 an email was sent to its enquiry desk.

Within minutes Bob Bell, one of the founders of Grid4Good, was on the telephone asking for further information about the request and offered to see whether Grid4Good could help.

John Mardle, another founder of Grid4Good, was next in touch and he got down to the detail and informed us that they would construct a Trike/Tandem at half the cost that had been quoted through another supplier.

The cost would be in the region of £3,000 and a grant was agreed to fund this project by Trustees of the Eveson Charitable Trust, a regional Charity that includes Wolverhampton.

Grid4Good sourced the donor hardware to construct the trike and used some of the resources available at a local F1 Team to modify them to suit. Reconstruction was started in the late autumn of last year but work stopped when the COVID-19 lockdown was announced, restarting again in May and successfully concluding a couple of weeks later. Grid4Good were delighted to be able to work with Power Pleas to help the Padfield family.

The Outcome:

On 2nd June 2021, James, his brother Samuel, his mother Sarah and his father David travelled to Oxfordshire to test and receive the Trike/Tandem. It was handed over by John Mardle who had managed the construction.

James first Ride with Dad at the automotive works in Oxfordshire on 2nd June 2021
James first Ride with Dad at the automotive works in Oxfordshire on 2nd June 2021
James getting on for his first ride
James getting on for his first ride
When they got home to Wolverhampton they couldn’t wait to give it a go!!! Just visited Grandma and Grandpa!
When they got home to Wolverhampton they couldn’t wait to give it a go!!! Just visited Grandma and Grandpa!

As a result of this, the Charity received a request from Green Park School for a side by side Tandem Trike. John Mardle from Grid4Good was again consulted and the communication ended with POWER PLEAS funding the trike shown in the pictures below, taken in November 2021.

Green Park School Trike
Green Park School Trike