Hitchin volunteers make spina biffida sufferer Dean smile

Dean Dawes, (centre) with volunteers from The Extra Smile Project

Dean Dawes, (centre) with volunteers from The Extra Smile Project - Credit: Archant

A Hitchin man has paid a heartfelt tribute to a community effort which meant that he was able to use his garden for the first time over the weekend.

Dean Dawes, (centre) with volunteers from The Extra Smile Project

Dean Dawes, (centre) with volunteers from The Extra Smile Project - Credit: Archant

A Hitchin man has paid a heartfelt tribute to a community effort which meant that he was able to use his garden for the first time over the weekend.

Dean Dawes, of Sunnyside Road, suffers from spina bifida, which restricts his mobility – but 15 volunteers from the Extra Smile community project came and helped tidy up the plot and lay a path which allows him to get around his back garden for the first time since he moved to his house six years ago.

The 30-year-old said: “Thanks to all the people from Extra Smile who helped tidy up my garden, allowing me to use it.

“I plan to put some chairs and a table in the garden, and enjoy it for the first time, having not been able to previously.

Volunteers, Mathew Malone and Phil Jackson clear Dean Dawes garden

Volunteers, Mathew Malone and Phil Jackson clear Dean Dawes garden - Credit: Archant

“I can do anything a ‘normal’ person can do – apart from walk – so the people from Extra Smile have helped changed my life.”

Phil Jackson, community director for Hitchin Christian Centre, who helped organise the Extra Smile project in Hitchin, said: “I’m really pleased this community programme helped Dean. We plan to do a lot more to help people in our community.

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“It’s great this initiative has been fully supported by all the churches in our area.”

Volunteers, Jahvn McCallum and Brian Norman clear Dean Dawes garden

Volunteers, Jahvn McCallum and Brian Norman clear Dean Dawes garden - Credit: Archant

Volunteer, David Rudeforth cuts grass for Dean Dawes

Volunteer, David Rudeforth cuts grass for Dean Dawes - Credit: Archant

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