Former Howard Community Primary School caretaker Colin White, left paralysed after fall, can enjoy his garden after conservatory campaign
A popular former school caretaker, left paralysed after an accident at home, can now enjoy his beloved garden thanks to a community-rallying fund-raising campaign.
Colin White, 56, was left virtually bed and chair ridden after he damaged the central spinal cord in his neck when he fell down the stairs at his Bury St Edmunds home in December 2017.
To give him a boost, his family wanted to build a conservatory to allow him to look out on the garden he loved tending to.
Following an appeal in the Bury Free Press which touched the hearts of the community, their fund-raising swelled to £8,472 and Frames Conservatories Direct stepped in to build the conservatory complete with underfloor heating, French doors, an access ramp, garden turf and even altered a kitchen window – all for £5,000.
For the first time since the accident, Colin was able to enjoy some quality time in his garden to take in the sun at his home in McIntyre Walk on Sunday.
Colin, who was a caretaker at Howard Community Primary School, said: “It’s wonderful and just nice to get outside. It lifts my spirits a lot.”
Financial support flooded in through a crowdfunder organised by Paul Hopfensperger, events at the school and the Card Factory Foundation Trust.
His wife Jo, 55, said: “We had a little old lady who sent us £1,000 through the post.
“It just restores your faith in everybody. You think we live in this big bad world but there’s still some kind people out there.
“We can’t thank them enough.
“All the men who worked for Frames were absolutely brilliant, so friendly and helpful and nothing was too much trouble for them.”
Colin added: “I just want to really thank the school because they’ve been brilliant and everybody who has donated.”
Adrian Lewis, managing director and owner of Frames, said: “Help was needed, we wanted to give something back to the community and this was a great way of doing it.”
Jo and Colin plan to spend the rest of the fund-raising money on furniture for the conservatory as well as plants for the garden and they are hoping to buy some raised beds.
Jo has also recently refitted her kitchen with some pension money.
It just restores your faith in everybody. You think we live in this big bad world but there’s still some kind people out there - Jo White
After ill health over Christmas and breaking his collar bone about eight weeks ago, things are ‘picking up again’ for Colin and it is hoped, through physio, he will eventually be able to walk small distances around his house with a frame.
Standing in the conservatory with Jo and Colin on Wednesday, Mr Lewis said: “It’s just what Colin wanted to be able to sit in here and the garden.
“It was all about improving his quality of life.”
“It’s certainly done that,” Jo added.