A MAN with cerebral palsy who has a starring role in a major campaign highlighting the abilities of individuals across the UK has spoken out about how his condition will never hold him back from enjoying his love of music.

Matthew Garner, 21, from Yarm, was born via emergency C-section in March 1996, with delays in his delivery leading him to develop quadriplegic cerebral palsy, hearing loss and learning disabilities.

Despite facing challenging throughout his life, Matthew has always been determined to make the most of it and has particularly developed an interest in music.

His passion has even led him to play drums with Rhythm Train, a Stockton-based community drumming team which performs samba beats at events across the North-East.

Now, his drumming talents have taken centre-stage in the new I am Able campaign from national law firm Irwin Mitchell, which is putting a spotlight on ability rather than disability and raising awareness of the progress that individuals like Matthew have been able to make with the right support.

Experts at the law firm are representing Matthew in a civil case against the North Tees and Hartlepool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which has admitted liability for the problems caused during his birth. Irwin Mitchell has since helped him with purchasing a property, accessing a full care regime.

Angela Kirtley, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office who represents Matthew and is working to secure him long-term financial support in relation to his injuries, said: “Matthew is an incredible young man who has faced so many difficulties in his life, yet he and his family have always put an emphasis on what he can do rather than what he can’t.

“He has always been determined to pursue his passion for music and performing with Rhythm Train is something that he loves so much. He is a real inspiration and a perfect fit for our I am Able campaign, which is all about putting the focus on ability rather than disability.”

Matthew’s involvement in the Rhythm Train band has taken him to carnivals and galas across the North-East.

Discussing his passion, Matthew said: “Music is something I have always loved and getting involved with Rhythm Train has had a huge impact on my life.

“It has shown me that no one should let a disability stop them from doing what they want to do or put plans on hold – I certainly don’t let my cerebral palsy stop me from getting on with what I am doing.

“It is fantastic that Irwin Mitchell is putting a spotlight on stories like mine and without the help of the law firm I would not be where I am today. I am delighted to be part of their campaign and hope it will showcase how disabilities should never hold anyone back.”