Kenilworth family stay living together after community rallies support - The Leamington Observer

Kenilworth family stay living together after community rallies support

Leamington Editorial 23rd Jul, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016   0

DIY SOS may have turned them down, but a Kenilworth family can stay together thanks to help from neighbours and local tradesmen.

Duane England was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease two years ago and now relies completely on an electric wheelchair.

But the family home in Kenilworth – where he lives with wife Tracy and children 13-year-old Josh and nine-year-old Sophie – was not equipped for the chair and he faced having to leave if changes were not made.

After being turned down for the popular BBC DIY SOS makeover show, and being refused government funding, the 41-year-old and his wife decided to use their life savings to start the work earlier this year.

But they quickly ran out of money to make the house disabled-friendly.

They then set up a fund-raising page to find the extra cash – and were inundated with offers of help from more than 50 local businesses and tradesmen along with family and friends.

Tracy, who has been married to Duane for 17 years and is a nurse at Warwick Hospital, said: “Once work is complete Duane will be able to use his wheelchair throughout the ground floor with all the facilities in place.

“Living on a building site with a young family would be hard for anyone but even more so with our exceptional circumstances. I am pleased to say we are nearing the end of the building works.

“The goal has always been to stay together as a family and despite everything we have been able to do this.”

The family hoped to raise some £7,000 to fund full wheelchair access, adapted living areas and a disabled-friendly bathroom.

To help raise the money, friends formed the ‘England Family Support Group’.

And while they are only £1,000 off their target, they have received help and goods donations from plumbers, builders, decorators, gardeners and cleaners, along with offers from those wishing to lend a hand.

Tradesman Alan Grant – who waived costs to lay paving, saving the family some £2,000 – said: “I am a massive DIY SOS fan and always said if the opportunity arose I’d like to do that for someone.

“Duane and his family really deserve a good turn right now and I am thrilled to be able to offer my help.”

Support group spokeswoman Katie Simpson said: “Duane and Tracy have ploughed everything they could into the building works. What is being done will transform their lives and allow the family to stay together.

“As Duane’s condition progresses we want their house to feel like a home which is comfortable and practical with the privacy they need.

“The home and garden needs to be a tranquil, accessible space where the family can spend time together.”

The family say any money remaining by the end of the build will be donated to the Motor Neurones Disease Association.

Visit to donate or find out more.

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