Volunteers who helped a builder left paralysed after a fall have returned to his Herefordshire home three years later to complete the first of two phases of work to help him regain his independence.
Martin Wilks was left paralysed from the chest down after falling off a stepladder in June 2018 and hitting his head on a concrete planter, causing a severe traumatic brain injury.
He was initially put in an induced coma and also suffered strokes, seizures, infections, pneumonia and a lung abscess while in hospital. The 68-year-old finally returned to his home in Almeley, Herefordshire, in February 2019 after regaining some of his independence following a long period of rehabilitation.
In the same year, a team of BoB volunteers travelled to the general builder’s home to install a new wood-burning stove to replace an unsafe and impractical open fire.
After the initial project, Martin’s family and friends crowdfunded to build an extension and specialist wet room to help him regain his independence and live comfortably at home with his wife.
Now, three years after our volunteers first helped Martin, a group of volunteers returned to complete the first part of a two-phase operation to help level flooring on the ground floor of the family’s home, as well as widen doorways to make it easier for Martin to move around in his wheelchair. Volunteers are set to return very soon to install new flooring and tile the kitchen.
Speaking about the two-phase project, Martin’s wife Helen said: “Band of Builders is going to make such a difference to both our lives. At the moment, he
spends his time either at the kitchen table or in bed, and he is dependent on me to move him around – but in the last year, my condition has worsened, meaning I need ambulatory oxygen, compounding the difficulties for caring for Martin.”
Martin’s daughter Hannah added: “It’s going to be life-changing. I’m really excited for them both. Dad can finally regain some independence and relieve Mum of her wheelchair-pushing duties. Both their day-to-day lives will be vastly improved. It’s amazing what Band of Builders does.”
This project was sponsored by Tarmac, the UK’s leading sustainable construction materials and building products business. Garry Gregory, Packed Products Director at Tarmac, said: “We are always proud to get involved and support the important work of Band of Builders. The life-enhancing projects they are delivering on behalf of those who work in the industry and their families are making a real impact where it’s needed most. It’s an honour to work with Band of Builders again, and we look forward to being involved in many more projects to come!”
Richard Dombrowski, the Project Lead for Martin’s project and a longstanding BoB volunteer, said: “It was a real privilege to go back to do more for Martin. His family and friends have made an amazing effort to ensure he’s got the space and facilities to allow him some independence, and the changes that we’ve already made and will be making will add to that and make him even more comfortable.”
A date has yet to be set for volunteers to return for the second phase of this project, which will see the installation of new flooring and tiling of the kitchen to complete the ground-floor works.