Hello! I'm Nathan Mattick, 23, and I'm the UK's first wheelchair-using FA qualified football referee. I have cerebral palsy and, for me, my powered wheelchair is my legs.
However, these chairs typically only have a lifespan of about six years and following a recent service of his current chair I've found that while it’s beyond its economical life to carry out essential repairs, it could ‘die’ on me at any time.
So, I'm in urgent need of replacing it. Living with a disability can be very challenging but I try to be as active and as independent as possible but, of course, I need my powered wheelchair to do this.
I was very lucky to receive my first two chairs from the charity Whizz Kidz which as part of their great work, provide mobility equipment to young people up to the age of 18. While I have looked at other charitable organisations to help fund a new chair, this can often take three to nine months to get approved.
Being without a powered chair for any length of time would have a massive impact on me, taking away all of my independence. While a chair could be sought through the NHS, these are restricted to a max of 4mph, which would not be sufficient for me to continue my passion of refereeing (my current chair has a max speed of 6.5mph). The chair I have now could break down at anytime, without a new one I will not be able to continue refereeing and have an active life as I do now.
As is the case with a lot of equipment for the disabled, a powered chair isn’t cheap. Having had assessments, I have been advised that the most suitable chair for me to meet my needs is Quickie Q 700 Sedeo Pro, costing £8,660, and I am looking at other ways to raise the funds to buy it.
Over the years I have spent a lot of time supporting Whizz-Kidz, being a member of their Kidz Board and speaking at a number of events around the country. I continue to help out attending occasional events for the charity.
I am now involved with Active Gloucestershire and volunteer at Cheltenham Town Football Club to sell programmes on matchdays as well as being a member of the Robins Trust Board (the supporters association) working towards the club's disability audit. I also assist Mobliloo where I advocate for better changing facilities for disabled people.
More recently I have become a co-trainer for Building Circles where I visit schools, speaking to pupils about disability and coping with being bullied. In the past I have volunteered for Gloucester Rugby, helping with their wheelchair rugby training sessions.
All of my work means I need to get around independently and I have only been able to do this with my powered chair. In my spare time, I enjoy attending various sporting events, particularly rugby and football. I am a regular at Gloucester Rugby matches. I love to visit my family, too, travelling up to London to see them.
My passion though is for refereeing and I was recently lucky enough to meet my hero Nigel Owens, who will be officiating at this year's Rugby World Cup in Japan. I have also taken part in speaking events with Premier League referees Chris Foy and Simon Hooper (pictured above).
But without my “legs” (powered chair) much of this would be impossible'. Can you help me, please?