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Turned away by club doormen who wouldn't believe I was disabled; Man claims bouncers verbally abused him.

Byline: ROB KENNEDY

A CEREBRAL palsy sufferer claims he was refused entry to a pub when bouncers mistook his disability for drunkenness.

Matty Thompson, 18, was enjoying a night out with his sister and friends when they went to Breeze in Whitley Bay.

Due to his condition, Matty has problems keeping his balance and suffers from shaky hand movements.

But he says a bouncer on the door of the pub barred him from going in, saying: "He can't walk, he's drunk", before demanding a medical card as proof of his disability.

It is alleged the bouncer then called the teenager a number of abusive names.

Matty's mum, Jenette Thompson, of Seaton Sluice, said: "This is an absolute outrage.

"They just can't treat people with disabilities and learning difficulties like that.

"He was very upset about it. He was called names. It's sheer ignorance." Matty, who says he had only had a couple of pints, had been out with Katie, 20, and some friends.

They went to Breeze at around 11pm and, it is claimed, because of the way he was walking, bouncers immediately refused him entry.

Mrs Thompson said: "My daughter said: 'He's got cerebral palsy' and the bouncer said: 'I don't believe that. I want a medical card'.

"Katie said: 'That's the way he usually walks'." Matty says one of the bouncers then got on his radio to tell other nearby pubs not to let him in.

Mrs Thompson, 41, who runs a hairdressing business, said: "Matty wouldn't say boo to a goose. He didn't even open his mouth during the whole thing. He is really responsible and doesn't get drunk.

"But he was upset and has been very withdrawn since then.

"The bouncers must be absolutely thick. To ask for his medical card is so rude." Newcastle fan Matty, who attends a residential Mencap college in Dilston, near Hexham, recently got picked to play football for England on behalf of Mencap.

He suffers from a form of cerebral palsy called ataxia, which causes balance problems, shaky hand movements and irregular speech.

When the Chronicle contacted Breeze about the complaint, we asked the manager if he would like to comment on the incident.

He said "no" and when pressed about whether he thinks it is right for disabled people to be refused entry to his pub, he said: "It wasn't like that, you had to be there," before hanging up.

A spokesman from Scope, the national disability charity which focuses on cerebral palsy, said: "A disabled person should not be denied access to any premises or facilities because they are disabled.

"Disabled people have the same right to go into pubs and clubs as anyone else.

"More needs to be done to get the public, and especially those who work in customer service, to truly understand and appreciate difference so that discrimination against disabled people becomes a thing of the past." The Chronicle was unable to contact the bouncers..
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 14, 2009
Words:490
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