Ipswich: Chantry fireball survivor is still waiting for help to rebuild his life

IPSWICH: A man who was horrifically injured when a fireball destroyed his home today revealed he is STILL waiting for state support.

Richard Nicholls was left fighting for his life after an explosion at his flat in Ellenbrook Green, Chantry, shattered his arms and legs and left him with serious burns and a broken chest bone.

But four months after the incident, and one month after the 34-year-old was discharged from hospital with nothing but a wheelchair and a single set of pyjamas, Mr Nicholls says he has still not received any benefits.

Speaking from West Villa homeless unit in Woodbridge Road, Ipswich, where he has lived since undergoing a gruelling series of operations at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Mr Nicholls said: “This ordeal has just been one big nightmare after another.”

Although the explosion survivor said he did not want to be “negative”, he said he was “surprised and disappointed” to still be in a homeless shelter waiting for money.

He added: “I haven’t received any benefits money and I’m still in the homeless shelter.

“I was given some money from a charitable organisation and I’ve borrowed money off friends but I want to get back to being independent.

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“I owe a huge amount of money to people and there’s no possibility of paying it back at the moment but no one expects me to until I’m back at work.”

Mr Nicholls said he has posted a doctor’s note to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) but has not heard back.

The Ransomes Jacobsen engineer, whose family live in Canada, also faces another setback to his rehabilitation after being told that doctors will have to operate again on his legs to remove steel pins.

“They’ve got to take the steel out of my legs and use bones from my hips to fix them and it’s got to be done within the month. It will mean at least another two weeks in hospital.

“After 14 operations I thought it was all going to be fine but the doctor told me my bones don’t like the steel and it’s being rejected. It means I’ll have to start the rehabilitation process all over again.”

n Have you got a message of support for Richard Nicholls? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or alternatively you can send an e-mail starletters@ archant.co.uk

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