Brave George to get his £150,000 room

Geroge and building team

Article by Toby Emes: Building work at a social distance has finally begun on a £150,000 house transformation to help a 12-year-old living with a life-limiting illness.

George Shippey, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, will finally have the bedroom he needs after two-and-a-half years of fighting with authorities to get planning permission.

The new room, which will replace the current kitchen, will feature hoists built into the beams, a specialist toilet and shower, a standing chair, a specialist bed and enough space for George to turn his electric wheelchair around.

George’s mum, Kerry, said the need was great due to the worsening of George’s condition, which means he can no longer walk up the stairs.

Kerry, 48, from Billericay, said:

“It’s been a long and exhausting process. We’ve had to go back and forwards with Basildon Council over planning permission. We had to get a second opinion and architects involved before it was granted.”

However, the family did receive a £30,000 disability grant which will “help massively with the cost”, Kerry said. She added:

“We’ve had donations from our work and from the Billericay Round Table, which we’re really grateful for.”

Despite battling the authorities, the project has been dogged by other delays. Kerry said:

“We then had another month delay because suppliers closed and some hiked their prices up. In some cases, prices for sand and plaster had tripled.”

The external construction on the house began on Thursday - ironically on St George’s Day - with the bedroom expected to be completed approximately six months from now. Kerry said the builders, Saxton Interiors, a Billericay-based firm, will be abiding by the two metre rules at all times during the build. She said

“George is part of the shielding group. He’s currently five weeks in. The work to the house will be done externally for three to four months so they won’t be breaking the two metre rules. We are currently coming up with a plan once the work needs to be moved inside.”

For regular updates, follow the Cure for George Facebook page.

Article by Toby Emes, The Echo