A home that cares for people with disabilities has launched a fundraising campaign in a bid to help get its residents out and about more.
MEP Richard Howitt, who is president of the all-party disability group in European Parliament, launched the fundraising drive on Friday at Leonard Cheshire Disability home Agate House in Ampthill.
Through its Opening Doors Appeal the home is aiming to raise £50,000 so that it can replace its current minibus that is over 20 years old. It is also looking for volunteer drivers.
The Times & Citizen spoke to one resident, who was a fit and healthy sportsman and PE teacher before his life was turned upside down last year.
Mike Gonse, 65, suffered a stroke last January that left him completely paralysed and unable to speak. Through intensive rehabilitation he slowly regained his speech and the use of his arms. But he is still unable to walk. He now lives at Agate House.
Before his stroke he was a keen rugby player with Ampthill Rugby Club and he used to teach the youth team, but now he struggles to just get to the club.
Mike said: “I try to get over there but parts of the route are tricky and this wheelchair sinks into the ground. My wife has to take me and sometimes when she gets stuck I can hear her crying.”
Talking about life after the stroke Mike added: “It’s like having a death in the family. A part of me died that day and I’ve never really had a chance to mourn. My kids lost their dad as they remembered him.
“My son and his wife have just moved into a new home and it would always be dad who helped with that.”
If you would like to help Agate House raise the £50,000 you can donate at www. justgiving.com/agatehouse or call 01525 403247.