Donations keep wheels turning
By NADINE FISHER
DONATIONS urgently required! This is the plea from Rotary volunteers on the Gold Coast who make wheelchairs from bikes for children in disadvantaged countries. Tugun resident Jim Bullen, 85, a member of the Palm Beach Rotary Club, became involved in the project six years ago after hearing what the Surfers Sunrise Rotary Club was doing. "What we do is we get the old bikes from the tip, and donations, and we use parts from them to make wheelchairs. We put all new wheels on with the most expensive part being the wheel at the front which costs $19," Mr Bullen said. "These wheelchairs have been taken to Vietnam, Vanuatu, Dili in East Timor, Fiji, Chernobyl, India and all around the world," he said. "But to continue we need some help. We have run out of money and can't buy paint or anything needed to make them. "Each one costs $100 to make and the kids really need them. "When you see the children dragging themselves around with carpet tied to their legs for padding, and these are kids that may have lost their legs from a landmine or lost the use of their legs from polio, you know you just have to make more." Mr Bullen said the program was started in 1989 by Surfers Sunrise Rotarian Des Larance who invented the style of wheelchair. "There are about six of us who make the wheelchairs and I've now made 600 myself, doing about 12 a fortnight," he said. "I get great satisfaction from doing something useful. You only need to see the smile on that child's face to keep going." For donations contact Jim Bullen on 5525 6305 or Des Larance on 0413 704 954.