A pensioner struggling to get around in his wheelchair has been given “a new sense of independence” after a nursery raised cash to buy him a mobility scooter.

Busy Bees nursery said it is thanks to the “unbelievable” response of the Chingford community that it was able to smash its fundraising target and help the disabled man in his 80s.

Children and staff at the nursery in Bailey Close held a sponsored toddle and a raffle in the hope of raising a few hundred pounds but ended up with £1,900.

And while Ron, who lives at Maya Angelou Court sheltered housing in Bailey Close, was gifted with a surprise scooter, the leftover cash was used to buy four wheelchairs for his fellow residents.

Manager of the nursery, Margaret Oley, and Louise Buschman, special education needs coordinators (SENCo), came up with the idea after seeing Ron struggling to get his wheelchair up the hill to the shops in Chingford Mount.

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Ms Buschman said: “It was just an unbelievable response. It was the community coming together.

“We thought we wouldn’t even get £500 and we ended up getting nearly £2,000.

“We didn’t expect that much at all. We had brilliant fun fundraising.”

Forty children from the nursery visit the home every week for a tea dance with the elderly residents.

A surprise event was held at the sheltered housing for the children to present Ron with his new means of transport.

But instead of handing the scooter over, Ms Bushman said the tots were more interested in having a go on it themselves.

“It was amazing to see Ron whizz around the carpark on his new scooter but all the children wanted to hop on and have a go!

“We told them it was for Ron and they were not allowed.

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“It has taught the children about what you can do to help others in need and they have learned from this.

“Ron was absolutely speechless when we gave him the scooter. He cried and he didn’t say much because I think he was in shock. But he said ‘thank you very much’.”

Julie King, LiveSmart scheme manager at Clarion Housing, said: “Thanks to this fundraising Ron has gained a new sense of independence and the new scooter has really improved his quality of life.

“We’re also incredibly grateful for the additional wheelchairs for our other residents, which will really make a difference.

“This was all made possible after the children from Busy Bees nursery started attending the residents’ weekly dance sessions funded by our charitable foundation, Clarion Futures, and I’d like to thank everyone who played a part.”