Firms dig in to help revamp garden for Letchworth MS sufferer

Lee is currently in Lister Hospital in Stevenage having plamsa treatment

Lee is currently in Lister Hospital in Stevenage having plamsa treatment - Credit: Archant

An appeal has been launched to help transform an MS sufferer’s garden so he can play with his young daughter.

Jon Harry, Future Scapes, Shane Johnson, Heaven and Earth Landscapes, Adrian O'Connor, UK Kitchens 4

Jon Harry, Future Scapes, Shane Johnson, Heaven and Earth Landscapes, Adrian O'Connor, UK Kitchens 4 you, and Martin Francis and Lee Hodgkins from Just Spray Timber - Credit: Archant

Letchworth GC painting firm Just Spray approached the Comet in a bid to raise £2,000 so Lee Gibbs can have his garden transformed.

Lee's garden

Lee's garden - Credit: Archant

The 29-year-old from Letchworth GC was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis two-and-a-half years ago has since suffered two attacks affecting his central nervous system, the most recent of which has left him unable to walk without crutches and has badly affected his eyesight.

In addition to his MS, Mr Gibbs said doctors believe he may also suffer from neuromyelitis optica – a rare condition that can damage the brain, spinal cord and nerves.

The former water engineer, who featured in Bear Grylls documentary Escape To The Legion in 2004, said: “I loved life and work and was a keen footballer. I played for two separate teams on a Saturday and Sunday as a left back including CC FC in Hitchin.

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“When I was first in hospital I felt devastated because I missed doing all the things I loved. I had to readjust and it was difficult to come to terms with knowing I would never be able to do the things we all take for granted. It has taken a long time to accept what I had and how the rest of my life is going to be.”

Mr Gibbs is currently receiving plasma treatment for his condition in Lister Hospital. He has been contacted by Lee Hodgkins – who he attended Priory School in Hitchin with – about helping to overhaul his garden.

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The Just Spray owner has since teamed up with the Comet and Hitchin building merchant T Brooker and Sons, which will be supplying tools and materials free of charge.

“This current relapse was a big challenge and I feel as if I have lost the fight but I want to be there for my wife Michelle and 16-month-old daughter Safiah,” said Mr Gibbs.

“I feel extremely overwhelmed with all this support and it was not something I was expecting. It is nice to know there are some amazing people and to have a garden where I can play with my daughter would mean the world to me. I would be able to spend some family time with her like a normal dad.”

Mr Gibbs’ wife Michelle, who was forced to give up her job as a travel consultant to look after their daughter and care for her husband, added: “When I met Lee he was really active and enjoyed his job. Not being able to work and having to give up football has taken quite a toll on him. It has been a difficult time and having a useable garden would be absolutely fantastic.”

Mr Hodgkins, who is planning on taking a week off work later this month to do the work, said: “I am doing the project because I know the family and wanted to do anything I could to help. We want to put a nice garden in with a patio and a bit of grass which he can enjoy with his daughter.”

Mr Hodgkins already has the help of two landscape gardeners but anyone interested in donating money or materials can contact him on 07932 254538 or the Comet news desk via 01438 866200.

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