'Life-changing' SOS project completed to help teenager with autism and epilepsy
PUBLISHED: 12:07 21 September 2018 | UPDATED: 12:08 21 September 2018
A DIY SOS-style project to improve the life of a teenager with autism and epilepsy has been completed.
More than 100 workers from nearly 39 contractors have been working to design and build a new bedroom and wet room for 14-year-old Daniel Dellar, who has autism and Dravet Syndrome, a form of paediatric epilepsy.
Daniel’s condition means that he often has multiple seizures in a day. To accommodate him, the family turned their living room into a makeshift bedroom.
The family struggled to carry Daniel upstairs to for a bath and found themselves being turned down for help to change their situation.
“The whole situation was absolutely awful,” said Daniel’s mother Mandy Dellar.
“Myself and my husband had both had hernia operations and Daniel was a deadweight when it came to trying to carry him upstairs or get him in and out of the bath.
“We kept asking and asking but we were at breaking point.”
Everything changed when Suffolk charity GeeWizz took on the project to create a new space for Daniel, having been contacted by family friend Guy Nicholls.
The project to help Daniel began back in March, when contractors moved in on the family’s house in Kesgrave to begin the work. In its early stages the project did suffer from the wintery conditions of the Beast from the East.
Speaking at the start of the build, Matt Cottrell from Foxwood Ceramics and Cottrell Brickwork said: “We had a foot of snow there last week but the boys carried on and we got all the demolition done. So it didn’t stop us too much, it’s put us a couple of days behind.”
Now, six months later, everything has changed and Daniel has been able to move into his new, purpose-built bedroom and bathroom space.
“To now see Daniel in his own proper bedroom and how he benefits from a new wetroom has just been heaven,” said Mrs Dellar.
“This whole experience has shown me what an amazing community we have in Ipswich and throughout Suffolk.
“To see all these contractors come together and support our family for free just makes me very emotional and very grateful.
“I also cannot thank Gina Long and GeeWizz enough. I’ve never had anyone fight our corner before, Gina did exactly that and it’s been a positive wonderful, whirlwind since the day we met her.
“All this generosity has made such a difference to Daniel’s life – and our whole family.”
GeeWizz founder Gina Long said: “This pipe dream only became a reality thanks to the overwhelming generosity of 39 extraordinary local contractors, headed so superbly by Matt Cottrell who took responsibility of the whole restoration every single day for the last five months.
“They all came together, for free, to support a local family and the journey of this whole restoration – and the end result – is something to behold and completely life-changing for Daniel and his family.”
“I would like to thank every single person who supported this project especially Matt Cottrell who well and truly went the extra mile, supported by Ben Allen – everyone single company and person involved has ‘done their bit’, whether through fundraising, giving manpower, donating materials or supporting with media promotion and awareness.
“The SOS Restoration has been GeeWizz’s biggest project to date, but one that has been a truly inspirational and humbling experience.”
Mr Cottrell, who led the project, added: “When I was contacted by GeeWizz asking for my help with the project, I had no hesitation in signing up and trying to get as many local contacts as possible to support it.
“It has been a wonderful project to be involved in and to see the difference it is making to Daniel and his family is something very special indeed.
“It has been a privilege to work on this renovation with so many dedicated local contractors.”
The full list of contractors who took part in the renovation:
• Tru7 Group
• Foxwood Ceramics
• The Birch Group
• FIS Windows
• Whip Street Motors
• CDC Demolition
• Simply Climate Control
• Brett Concrete
• Abds Architects
• Aquatec Ltd
• Coastal Building Supplies
• Ridgeons, Martlesham and Ipswich
• M&S Contractors
• MLM Building Control
• Collier and Catchpole
• Alexander Builders
• Mckeary Dry Lining LTD
• DAB Group
• Electric Centre Ipswich
• Dreamwave Events
• Milsoms Kesgrave Hall
• Margaret Horsman Interiors
• Weathercare Blinds
• Beneath Heat
• Coastline Graphics
• Plumb City
• Poundfield Products
• C&N Plumbing
• Shirley Shelly Cleaning Services
• Denny Bros