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Finglas community rally together to get boy with Spina Bifida wheelchair accessible horse and cart

A North Dublin community rallied together so that a local boy could achieve his dream of riding in a horse and cart.

Ten-year-old Nathan Kiely is a popular figure in the community and has a great love of horses.

The fourth class student has spina bifida and is a wheelchair user meaning that he was only ever able to watch other people ride horses.

However Nathan was left speechless last week when he was surprised with a wheelchair accessible horse and cart that had been once made for another horse-loving wheelchair user.

His neighbours and friends had spent weeks putting together a plan to make the young boy’s dream possible.

Rachel Starrs felt that a one-eye horse would make the perfect companion for Nathan and prove to him to focus on everyone is different with their own set of strengths.

She told Dublin Live that a huge amount of work went on behind the scenes to bring Kiki and Nathan together.

Rachel said: “Nathan came along and said that he wished he could go on a horse and cart like everyone else because there are always horses coming and going.

“”There are just a great group of people in Finglas and they all have a bond with the families.

“I’m part of the Scribblestown Horse and Pony Club. We try to promote responsible horse ownership through the DPSCA who work with us and try to educate the kids.

“There is a horse there who has a disability. Kiki only has one eye and I was thinking that it would be a good idea for them to meet.

“One of the lads, Alan Wallace said to me that he had a wheelchair accessible cart to go with a horse for his father.

“His poor father passed away before he was able to use it. He said he would be more than happy to lend it to us.

“His dad Liam didn’t get to use it but we hope he’s beaming down with pride watching young Nathan on it.”

“We had to organise transport which is hard because it is quite big. Another couple of volunteers got a tow truck and they collected it and brought it to the yard.

“Finally, the other day it all came together and it was a lovely surprise for Nathan.”

Rachel stressed that acts of kindness like that demonstrate the power of their North Dublin community and the generosity of the people that live there.

She said: “Finglas gets a lot of bad publicity and that kind of takes away from the good things. There are a lot of good people in Finglas. No matter what, you can still come back on track. You can still get involved. I’m trying to get people in the area to do these things.

“Everyone sort of buckles up and realises that something like this is a great idea. One by one, it all falls into place. It brings kindness and inclusion. All the strangers come together. We look for abilities instead of disabilities.

“A massive thank you to Alan for the cart and to Keith who drove the cart.”

Nathan loves horses, maths and Liverpool. He told Dublin Live that he is proud to be part of such a great community and thanked everyone for making his dream come through.

He said: “I’ve always had an interest in horses. I loved being on it. It was a lot of fun. It felt great.

“It’s really good to live here because everyone is supportive and everyone is included in Finglas.

“My teacher put the videos up on the big screen and everyone was lovely.

“It was very sweet of them. I want to say thanks to everyone that supported me in doing this.

“There’s room for all children with different abilities.”

Nathan’s mam, Ciara said that her son has always loved horses but never thought he would have been able to go on a horse and cart.

She said: “A few years ago, he went to the Galway races. He has a huge interest in horses. When we were on holidays in the Aran Islands, a man let him hold the reigns.

“He never thought that he would be able to go on a horse by himself. I’ve sent the photographs to everyone. So many people, went out of their way just to help Nathan.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s just amazing that there is something out there for kids in wheelchairs.”

Nathan is an avid Liverpool supporter and is part of ‘Football for All’, a new team that Rachel helps to run.

Rachel said: “Nathan is in my football club. It’s just for children with different abilities.

“It started before Covid but then Covid hit. We sort of got back going in September.

“We have our first tournament with the kids in another few weeks. Some kids are non-verbal, wheelchair users, frame users.

“I didn’t realise how much it meant to them until we became like a family the last few months.

“They were all saying, they had nothing. All their brothers and sisters all have their dancing or their own football but there’s never anything in Finglas for children with different abilities.

“They are all getting their jerseys and all in the next few weeks.

“”We all just meet together and they’re all our little superstars.”

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