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Dad of disabled son told cost of wembley parking is £409

Garry with Haydn outside wembley stadium
Garry with Haydn outside wembley stadium Image credit: dailymail.co.uk

A father has expressed his gratitude to the generous people who offered to pay the £408 parking fee he was quoted to take his disabled son, Haydn, to see Ed Sheeran at Wembley Stadium.

Garry Ratcliffe was shocked when he heard how much it would cost to leave his car close to the London venue.

A search online showed the cheapest place was on somebody’s driveway for £408.

After finding out the extortionate cost Garry warned his son, who has cerebral palsy, they may not be able to go to the gig.

Garry tweeted his dilemma and was overcome when his post was retweeted over 1,400 times with some replies offering to cover the parking cost.

Ratcliffe,49, CEO of The Galaxy Trust - a Multi Academy Trust of three primary schools in Dartford, told MailOnline:  'These were just strangers, hundreds of strangers just offering their support. It was one of those stories that caught people's imaginations and it was amazing.

'Because he's got cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair, Haydn can be quite isolated as a young person. So he really likes going to different gigs and big concerts in London.

'He'd saved up for these tickets for himself and these were the first tickets he'd ever bought just on his own from his earnings.

'So I went on to the Wembley official parking site to find that every car park was fully booked which was really unusual. I then realised that it was the third day of the current rail strike. Everyone would be driving to see Ed Sheeran because nobody would be getting the train.

'I panicked slightly and told Haydn that we might not be going because there is no way we can get up there without a car and obviously he was devastated.'

Garry and his husband Kyle, 49, went on parking app Just Park to try to find a suitable place to leave the car.

 'One space came up that was on somebody's driveway about a 10-minute walk from the stadium and they were charging £408,’ Garry explained.

After asking for advice on Twitter he turned down a generous offer from a stranger offering to pay the fee.

Garry said: : 'I tried to convey quite early on that this was a problem for a kid who's quite entitled and privileged. It wasn't about somebody struggling to feed themselves for the week, it was about a parking space. So let's give it a bit of perspective. I would never have taken the money just to pay for a parking space.'

Luckily a member of staff, who heard about Garry’s situation, gave him his space at the venue because he was not working on the day of the show.

Garry said: 'We arrived in plenty of time and our parking space, provided by Wembley was ready and waiting.

'The concert was amazing. Ed is such a talented musician and a natural showman. Haydn sang his heart out and danced in his chair for the whole gig, waving, laughing and smiling all the way through.

'Thank you in no small part to the generosity and kindness of those social media strangers that supported Haydn to make sure his night was perfect.'

'We arrived in plenty of time and our parking space, provided by Wembley was ready and waiting.

'The concert was amazing. Ed is such a talented musician and a natural showman. Haydn sang his heart out and danced in his chair for the whole gig, waving, laughing and smiling all the way through.

'Thank you in no small part to the generosity and kindness of those social media strangers that supported Haydn to make sure his night was perfect.'

'We arrived in plenty of time and our parking space, provided by Wembley was ready and waiting.

Garry and Kylie are dads to three children with disabilities, using public transport can be a nightmare for them - especially at sold-out gigs with 80,000 people!

Garry said: 'We don't stop doing anything, it just means we have to do a lot more planning.

'When things go well people are really welcoming but when things get a bit busier, often Haydn is seen as an inconvenience.

'If there is a person with who's traveling on the train with their bicycle, then they might put the bicycle where the wheelchair should go. If their bicycle is there, then it prevents Haydn getting on to actually travel in his wheelchair and at that point, he is seen as inconvenience.'

He added: 'We are in a privileged and good position of being able to worry about a parking space for a concert. Let's hope that the next time people see a story about a disabled issue, they will have the same reaction because certainly Haydn as a full-time wheelchair user experiences issues in terms of travel access every day.'

For information about accessible facilities at Wembley Stadium check out our Access Guide.