Tim gets wheels in motion for flute band event to raise funds for Air Ambulance and mental health group

A wheelchair-bound flute band enthusiast from Co Armagh is drumming up support for a charity which helps bandsmen who are struggling with mental health.

By Graeme Cousins
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 3:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 5:05 pm

Two years ago, just before the pandemic hit, Tim Webb from Portadown benefitted from a band event to raise money to get him a new set of wheels.

And now the 32-year-old has put the wheels in motion for another gathering of bands in Armagh Orange Hall on Friday, February 11 to raise money for two local charities.

He said: “As things start to settle back into some sort of a normal life I am running a second Webber’s Wheels event.

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Markethill Protestant Boys Flute Band took to the streets for a Northern Ireland Centenary parade in December

“This one is in aid of two wonderful charities – Air Ambulance NI and Light of Foot.

“Air Ambulance do a fantastic job around the country. Light of Foot are a mental health charity based around the band scene and are there for bandsmen and women and ex bandsmen and women who may be struggling with their mental health.”

Tim said he had around 10 bands on the programme for the event, along with fife and drums and an historian.

A bus will be running to the event calling at the Ballymore Inn in Tandragee as well as Gary’s Bar and Hannover FC in Portadown.

Tim Webb in his Markethill Protestant Boys Flute Band uniform

He said: “It’s open to anyone who is interested in coming along to enjoy the evening and to help me support the charities involved.

“I’m really looking forward to hearing all the bands playing live. A lot people are at the end of their tethers and are keen to get back to normality again.”

Earlier this year Tim was able to himself join a band when he became a member of Markethill Protestant Boys Flute Band.

Before joining a band himself Tim would follow his brother Matthew’s band – Kilcluney Volunteers Flute Band from Markethill, and his father Ivan’s old band – Portadown Defenders.

He said: “During lockdown every weekend on one of the Facebook pages you would have had virtual band parades – that kept me going.”

Tim was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus and as a result he has been in a wheelchair all his life.

He enjoys archery but is only really getting back into the swing of it as restrictions begin to lift.

He is also a huge fan of Rangers and prior to Covid he would be over to watch the team in Scotland every other week.

He said: “In the past two years I’ve only been over a couple of times. Since getting my new wheels I haven’t been getting about as much as I’d like.

“For health reasons I’ve been keeping myself safe. I’ve been keeping in contact with my pals over in Scotland from the football and the guys from the band scene. It’s important to stay connected. That’s kept me going.

“The pandemic has been hard on a lot of people, especially on their mental health. That’s why I chose Light Of Foot as one of the charities.”

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