IT’S been a memorable year for Charlie Dawson and his family.

The 22-year-old from Moredon has been working hard to fundraise for a new state-of-the-art wheelchair after outgrowing the one he’s had since he was a teenager.

The wheelchair he covets would be bigger and lighter than his current one.

It also has off-road capabilities which would stop him being restricted to the pavement when he goes outside, and powered steering that would ease the heavy strain on his shoulders caused by pushing the chair manually.

However, these extra features come with a hefty price - the wheelchair costs £10,500.

Charlie is one of just five people in the world with the muscular condition paroxysmal non-kinesigenic choreoathetosis, which causes painful involuntary full-body spasms, and he also suffers from dystonia and ataxia, which affects his speech, balance and co-ordination.

His friends and family rallied round him to support his cause and raised just over £5,000 in six months, already half-way to their target.

The fundraising began at the end of June, when Charlie pledged to climb Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons with a team of friends by the end of the year.

In July, Scrappers Gym in Swindon raised hundreds of pounds with a special boxing training session.

Charlie is a big boxing fan and regularly helps out at the gym, so its head coach Paul Rogers was eager to help him out.

Two weeks later, asthmatic schoolboy Blake Smith raised more than £180 for Charlie, who does boxing training with the lad at Scrappers, by cycling five miles from Moredon School to Coate Water after the last day of school before the summer holidays.

Then in September, personal trainer Matt Glover organised a day of endurance challenges which raised more than £900 and ran two Tough Mudders.

Matt pushed 15 fitness fans through five hours of exercises during the Smash It For Chaz event, including a 5km run around Mouldon Hill, a boot camp, a spin class, weightlifting, and boxercise.

Charlie arrived during the spin class to encourage everyone taking part and got involved in the boxercise session along with his dad Kevin and mum Jackie.

Unfortunately, Charlie had to postpone plans for his big climb up Pen y Fan after his physiotherapist recommended that he avoid taking on the challenge this year due to problems with the ligaments on his hip.

The climb has been rescheduled for April 15.

Charlie’s mum Jackie was astonished by the generosity they’ve seen over the past few months.

She said: “It’s amazing, the amount we’ve raised in such a short time is fantastic, it’s marvellous that it’s gone this far.

“Charlie’s quite a well known and well liked person.

“Being around the boxing at Scrappers has made him quite popular.”

Paul Rogers said: “Chaz has been at Scrappers from day one, he coaches people on the pads which has improved his balance and given him a chance to get out of his chair for a bit.

“He thinks of it as a full-time job even though he’s a volunteer; he says this gym is his life.

“He’s a bit unsteady on his feet but people started saying how well-balanced he was on the pads, he became a popular person here and it improved his positive thinking.

“Operations on his brain have knocked his confidence a bit and his speech has suffered slightly and gradually he’s trying to get back to where he was before.

“It’s a constant battle but he’s improving all the time.

“He’s over the moon with the way the fundraising has gone so far.

“Charlie really appreciates anyone who donates, he’s very thankful.

“When anyone does something for Charlie, it’s amazing how generous people can be with their money and their time.

“We had a boxing session here recently to raise a bit of money, everyone enjoyed themselves and raised a few quid at the same time, which is what it’s all about, we’ll keep doing things like that.”

Next summer, Charlie’s dad Kevin, sister Chaye and friend of the family Darren Lea are doing a parachute jump to boost the fundraising total even higher.

Darren is afraid of heights, so the jump will be quite a challenge.

He said: “I’m still in denial a bit at the moment, we haven’t made concrete plans for it yet.

“Charlie’s dad said he always wanted to do a parachute jump and asked me to join him.

“At first I said no but then I thought that if I’m going to do something to help Charlie, it has to be something that will persuade people to put their hands in their pockets and sponsor me, something that scares me.

“Part of me is really reluctant but another part of me is sort of looking forward to it.”

With thousands of pounds left to raise, there’s still a long way to go before Charlie can reach his goal, but he’s determined to tackle Pen Y Fan this year and reach his target.

Paul added: “In January, he’ll start training for his big climb, it’ll be quite a challenge for him but he’s looking forward to it.”

Darren added: “I’ve climbed Pen y Fan six or seven times, it’s a struggle even for able-bodied people.

“Charlie will find it hard but he really wants to be involved in the fundraising and he’s always willing to give things a go and he’ll try his best.

“When I first met him eight years ago he could barely get out of his chair but he’s grown stronger, the boxing training has done him a world of good, and now he’s doing this mountain climb, it’s amazing and really humbling to see.”

Jackie added: “We have a lot of family and friends and they’re always saying that if we ever need help with anything, let them know.

“Without their help, this wouldn’t be possible.”

Charlie said: “I’m so grateful, it’s amazing, thank you all so much.”