Wiltshire Publications

Auction for wedding wheelchair fund

Neil Martin with fiancee Virginia Marchmant

Neil Martin with fiancee Virginia Marchmant

ACHARITY auction will be held later this month in aid of a local man’s bid to stand for the first time in eight years at his wedding in August. 

Neil Martin, who suffers from a rare muscle wasting condition, has been raising money to buy a stand-up wheelchair so he can stand up to say his wedding vows when he marries fiancee Virginia in August this year.

The couple’s next fundraising effort will be an auction followed by a meal and disco held at Westbury Conservative Club on Saturday 18th April at 7.30pm.

Big lots on offer include a week’s break in a six-bed Spanish holiday villa, a signed Arsenal shirt, a signed Bath Rugby shirt, a guitar donated by All Instruments, photoshoots, and more.

Westbury man Neil said, “It has always been my dream to stand at my wedding but I didn’t know how it was possible. After seeing a video of an American  veteran who was hoisted for his first dance, I discovered the stand-up wheelchair which would allow me to do it.

“I tried one out at home and it was a real ‘wow’ moment to see myself upright for the first time in eight years.

“Fundraising has been going well. We decided to do an auction because we wanted people to get something for their money, rather than just giving it away. To have a meal, a dance, and a fun evening out is a much better way to raise it. We still have a long way to go though; the wheelchair will cost between £12,000 and £15,000. I have said from the start that if we don’t make the target for the wheelchair, I will donate all the money to  the Myotubular Trust.

“The wheelchair would change my life for sure, but I’ve maintained that if we don’t get it by the wedding I’d rather see the money used to help other people with the same condition.”

Neil suffers from a form of myotubular myopathy so rare that he believes only six other people in the world are known to have it. The condition causes significant weakness in muscles including those that control breathing and swallowing.

Neil discovered he had it eight years ago when he lost the use of his legs overnight. He has never walked since and expects the condition to worsen.

Neil said, “I accept that I have the condition now and that I will never be out of a wheelchair again. However, there are people who have it much worse than I do and whose lives are dramatically shortened.

“After the wedding Virginia and I hope to register as an official charity and help others with the condition – when I reach my target it won’t be the end of the fundraising, it’ll just be the beginning.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to everybody who has helped with my fundraising. From shops donating to the auction, the Conservative Club for putting us on, Sean Brereton for donating from his upcoming event, and everyone else who has been and will be involved, the response has been amazing.”

Neil volunteers at the Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre in Warminster.

For more information or to book tickets for the auction you can contact Neil on
neilmartin80@hotmail.com, or 01373 826214.

To find out more of Neil’s story or donate to his fund, go to