Nine wheelchairs have been donated to the Silves’ technical aids bank for the disabled (BLAT) by a group of foreign motorhomers who visit the city each year to escape the cold winter months in their home countries.
Mayor Rogério Pinto, upon receiving the donation on behalf of BLAT, said he was “extremely grateful” for the generosity of this group who make Silves their home for part of the year. “Foreigners are part of our community,” he added.
During the handover ceremony, he recalled the November 16 tornado that hit the city, causing widespread destruction and the untimely death of Portuguese motorhomer Maria Filomena Teixeira. A minute’s silence was held in her memory.
Rogério Pinto described how, two days after the event, more than 1,000 volunteers, including many foreign residents and visitors, joined forces to help the municipal teams bring normalcy to the city.
“I will never forget the sight of volunteers forming a human chain and passing roof tiles, from hand to hand, up the stairs of the Câmara building to help in the restoration of its damaged roof,” he said.
The Mayor said the wheelchairs will help many needy people suffering from reduced mobility in the council and were again proof of the generosity of the foreign community. “I am profoundly grateful for this gesture,” he said.
How it all started
The idea behind the charitable initiative came from a group of German and Dutch motorhomers staying in Silves. They were later joined in their effort by other motorhomers, including British and French nationals.
A collection on January 16 helped raise a total of €1,200, which enabled the group to purchase the wheelchairs.
The donation will allow the BLAT to respond more efficiently to the numerous requests for orthopaedic aids and thus improve the quality of life of residents who are suffering from reduced mobility, and cannot afford to hire or purchase the equipment.
BLAT also provides healthcare assistance to underprivileged members of the community and helps with issues such as hygiene and sanitation needs. The service operates from the Social Action Department of Silves Câmara, in Rua João de Deus, nº19, r/c.