Family fundraising drive for specialist equipment

THE FAMILY of a Broadoak man paralysed after an accident at work are starting a fundraising drive so they can afford the specialised equipment and alterations they will need to look after him at home.

Jim Mockford, 63 from Swife Lane was working on a tractor in the agricultural machine workshop of Curtis and Shaw (Sussex) in Cowbeech on October 16 last year when an explosion blew him backwards.

His legs were trapped underneath the tractor and he suffered a major cervical spine injury, a fractured skull and a broken leg. He spent four months in intensive care at King’s College Hospital then was transferred to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, Middlesex on February 4 this year.

Jim’s partner of 21 years, nurse Lynda Swan, also 63, told the Express it was a ‘very, very serious accident’ and he was not able to breathe at the time. He was paralysed from the neck and added: “Jim spends most days now in a wheelchair but he remains totally dependent, unable to do anything for himself. His skull was fractured but he was not brain damaged and his personality is intact. He’s made a little progress in the last few months but nothing that enables him to do anything.”

Jim is due to be discharged in two months’ time but will need 24 hour nursing care with a hoist and major home adaptations.

Lynda explained Wealden District Council cannot give him a disabled facilities grant because she works as a nurse and has some savings.

Jim will be entitled to a disabled living allowance and pension when he gets discharged.

But he cannot get discharged until he gains an income to adapt the home, a situation Lynda describes as a ‘vicious circle.’

She said: “When he’s discharged from Stanmore in two months he’d have to go into interim care in Eastbourne. We have no way of adapting the home at the moment.”

The nurse has spent £250 per month travelling six hours a day to visit Jim in Middlesex.

Now Jim’s family and friends are organising a village fete to raise funds for the ‘Jim Mockford Fund.’

It runs from 10am to 4pm at Riverdell Farm, Burwash on Saturday, June 25.

Entry costs £10 per car or £2 on foot. There will be a fairground organ, refreshments, country games, a dog show, tractor rides, terrier racing and an auction of promises including apartments in Grenada, Portugal and South Africa and more.

Lynda said: “The support we have had is amazing. We’re doing best to make it a good day for everyone so people can enjoy it and it will hopefully benefit Jim.”

Julie Wilkins, Wealden’s property services manager said: “We have only had initial discussions about the adaptation to Mr Mockford’s home and have yet to receive a formal referral from his occupational therapist.

“But from our initial discussions, it would appear that Mr Mockford may only be eligible for a very small disabled facilities grant because of current levels of household income.

“Under the current terms of the private sector housing financial assistance policy he can apply for a loan to cover some of the remaining cost of the work but we also have to ensure that the adaptation is practical and reasonable for the property. This is in keeping with national legislation.

“We remain committed to providing assistance to the applicant,  and will be working alongside other agencies to secure a long term housing solution for Mr Mockford.”