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Woman told she's not 'disabled enough' to park in disabled space at Gravesend Cyclopark

A blue badge holder was allegedly told she 'wasn't disabled enough' to park in a disabled space.

Leigh Bobbett, from Larkfield, was with her family at the Cyclopark, in Watling Street, Gravesend, for her son's 14th birthday on Wednesday, when she claims she was discriminated against for her disability.

Cyclopark, Watling Street, Gravesend
Cyclopark, Watling Street, Gravesend

Mrs Bobbett, who has fibromyalgia, explained that a member of staff from the centre followed her before telling her she was parked in a disabled space.

When the 33-year-old pulled the badge from her car, with her photo ID on, and showed the man she says he told her that the spaces are mainly for wheelchair users and that as she was able to walk the short distance from the centre to her car that she didn't need to park there.

"He told me I should have parked towards to back of the car park and left the disabled spaces free for wheelchair users," the mother-of-two said.

"I was completely horrified. I've never felt so intimidated and embarrassed.

"In the end my husband and I ended up shouting and swearing at him to go away, as he wouldn't leave us alone.

"I was made to feel like criminal, even though I hadn't done anything wrong..." - Leigh Bobbett

"The whole thing has shaken me up and made me not want to leave the house again. I haven't left since it happened."

Mrs Bobbett, who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia nearly two years ago, explained she is often bed-bound by the condition and "will never be pain free".

She added: "You can't tell how you're going to feel until you get up that day. Sometimes you have a good day, like I was on Wednesday, and then others you're stuck in bed or on the sofa all day.

"I've never had someone confront me about having a badge. You hear stories about it happening to others because it's not a visible condition, but you never expect it to happen to you.

"I hope that people who hear about this will realise that not all disabilities are visible. I want to be normal more than anything, but I can't with this condition.

Mrs Bobbett showed the member of staff her blue badge permit
Mrs Bobbett showed the member of staff her blue badge permit

"I was made to feel like a criminal, even though I hadn't done anything wrong. We were the only people parked in one of the 10 to 15 spaces as well."

Mrs Bobbett's husband, Nathan, took to Facebook to air his anger over the incident and the post has been shared more than 200 times with hundreds of messages of support left on it.

The couple admitted they are hoping to get an apology from the centre and hope the member of staff gets some education about invisible disabilities.

Cyclopark has been approached for a comment.

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