A tragedy-hit Sleaford family affected by a freak accident who were helped by volunteers to make their home wheelchair-friendly are putting out a further appeal for help to finish the job before they can move back into the house.
IT teacher Ian Freeman appealed for help through The Standard earlier this year to make alterations to the family kitchen of his Grantham Road home in readiness for the return of his wife Louise from hospital in Sheffield where she had been recovering from a fall in the shower last September.
Louise had broken her neck in the fall and is paralysed from the chest down. Having left hospital last month the couple and their two young children have been staying for the last six weeks at a friend’s until adaption work is completed.
After the work in the kitchen to level the floor was completed by local volunteers, adaptions including a lift, wet room and new doorways have been carried out by contractors funded by a disability grant from North Kesteven District Council, but the family say there is still a lot of finishing off work to do before they can move back in with no-one capable of doing it.
Louise’s mum Jennifer Pash told The Standard: “I have come up from London to help out with the decorating, but I am overwhelmed with the amount of work that there is still to do.
“Due to Louise’s disability, Ian is now my daughter’s full-time carer and is unable to leave Louise for any significant amount of time because her health is still too unstable and therefore the progress on the house has almost come to a standstill.
“Louise is out of hospital but her blood pressure, haemoglobin and iron levels are all down and she keeps fainting and she cannot come home because it is so dusty and dirty and cold in the house.”
Anywhere doors have had to be widened or kitchen units and sockets lowered, there are pieces of plasterwork missing.
“There are many parts of the house that require plastering, and help is also needed for general decorating, DIY and gardening - even for a couple of hours,” Jennifer said.
Ian, who lost his first wife Maxine in a tragic car accident, said some of the extra work has come as a surprise due to unexpected snags during the adaptions. He said: “No-one was expecting the builders to cut a hole in the kitchen ceiling for access to pipework in the loft. Now we need a loft hatch.”
Jennifer and Ian are appealing for help from anyone who can lend a hand over the bank holiday weekend. You can call her on 07856 844165.
Philip Roberts, North Kesteven District Council’s Corporate Director, said: “The council has been very supportive of Mr and Mrs Freeman’s position and has worked with them to secure funding through a Disabled Facilities Grant.
“This grant has enabled works to be carried out at the house and we have worked with contractors to make sure these have been done. Only a few outstanding items have to be completed.
“Officers have today (Friday) visited Mr Freeman who thanked them for all their support.
“In the spirit of the call that has gone out for volunteers to help the family, the council has also agreed to an additional job of fixing the loft hatch in the kitchen of the property.”