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Family 'bowled over' by support from Elmswell community following 10-year-old's leukaemia diagnosis

Chris and Claire Doughty with 10-year-old Oliver Doughty, brother Tom and build organiser Marcus Smith. Picture: Mark Westley.
Chris and Claire Doughty with 10-year-old Oliver Doughty, brother Tom and build organiser Marcus Smith. Picture: Mark Westley.

A father has spoken out to praise the ‘amazing’ support offered to his family since his 10-year-old son was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Oliver Doughty, of Elmswell, has tackled five months of gruelling chemotherapy since his acute lymphoblastic leukaemia diagnosis in January.

The Elmswell Primary School pupil is now on the intense ‘phase four’ of treatment, with the family hopeful he will progress on to the maintenance phase in the coming weeks.

And despite being in and out of Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Oliver might soon have a new bedroom to return to, after a DIY SOS-style conversion of the family’s garage was planned by members of the Elmswell community.

Dad Chris said the project was masterminded by Oliver’s Elmswell U11 football coach Marcus Smith, who galvanised local businesses and tradespeople to donate materials and time to convert the garage into a toilet, shower room and bedroom, while he also set up a JustGiving page to help raise additional funds.

The conversion came about after Chris casually asked Marcus how much it might cost to install a toilet in the garage, as the family only has one toilet upstairs. Chris later shelved the idea due to lack of time and money.

Weeks passed, until Marcus popped round one afternoon and announced he had arranged donated supplies and tradespeople to undertake the project.

“He said ‘you don’t need to do anything, it’s all sorted’,” said Chris. “It is amazing. We would never have asked people to do this for us, we feel quite humbled.

“My wife Claire and I want to let people know how grateful we are to the whole community. We are just bowled over.”

The community support has included Elmswell Fire Station donating money to help with hospital travel costs and giving Oliver a station tour, while customers at the village’s Railway pub also collected for the family.

The DIY SOS-style project’s supporters include:

Marcus Smith Tiling: Marcus Smith ( co-ordinating the build and Oliver’s football coach )

Timber: Clarkes Of Walsham

Plasterboard: Cornells

Insulation and chipboard flooring: Bloor Homes

Skip hire: Culford Waste (Justin Spittle)

Windows: Frames and Conservatory Direct;

Building/carpentry: Johna Smith- Kerry

Carpentry: Ian Rice

Plumbing: Podium Plumbing, Harry Pratt

Electrical work: Ben Haill

Plaster boarding/taking: Daniels and Son, Tom Daniels

Plastering: Jamie Norris

Building control: Mike Edwards, Gateway Building

Decorating: Elliot Hounslow

Electrical materials: City Electrical Factors, James Riggey and Chris Clarke

Also, further support from Elmswell Fire Service, the Railway pub, the community via the JustGiving page – many people donated to the build and supported the family.

Donate at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/oli26

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