Amputee boy can now play in his garden thanks to kind landscaper
An eight-year-old quadruple amputee can now take himself off to his garden for the very first time after a charity put his family in touch with a big-hearted landscape gardener who made their outside spaces disability-friendly free of charge.
After years being mainly stuck inside, Taylor Lewis, eight, of Ilkeston, can now take himself out to his garden to bounce on his trampoline and whizz down his slide for the first time after Paul Bignall of award-winning PB Landscapes of Melbourne volunteered his top-notch services for the job.
Taylor fell ill with meningitis and sepsis aged eight months and had to have both legs and hands amputated. He has since undergone 86 operations, has had multiple and ongoing complications, and goes to hospital twice a week.
Taylor’s mum Terri said it would really help Taylor to be able to take himself off outside in the family garden to let off steam and relax from the stresses of his young life.
Taylor gets around using a combination of a wheelchair and blades, but at home prefers to move himself about on just his stumps as it is much less painful.
That has meant he has been unable to take himself outside to his garden since the family moved into their bungalow five years ago. Not only is the garden on two levels, it also had lots of uneven surfaces which meant Taylor could not use it on his stumps, and his blades would not have worked either.
In addition, attempts over several years by family and friends to try and fix the garden meant there were lots of rocks heaped around the space, adding to an already unsuitable surface for Taylor.
But now Taylor can head outside himself and manoeuvre himself on to his slide and his trampoline after PB Landscapes of Melbourne came to Ilkeston and sorted out the garden for the family once and for all.
The company heard of Taylor’s plight through the memory-making charity me&dee. Founded by Maria Hanson MBE, the charity has worked with the family for years, bringing comfort with days out, holidays and visits from Santa at Christmas time.
Paul did not hesitate to offer his services. He and his team spent two days levelling out the space in Taylor’s garden, laying down grass and sprucing up the rest of the area so the whole family can enjoy the space.
Paul said: “Although you always know there are people badly off in the world, you don’t appreciate it until you see it. Maria who founded me&dee is brilliant – I did her garden for free too.
“It’s a good service I’m happy to do. For me to see the smile on Taylor’s face, being able to use his garden, is worth more than any money to me.”
Mum Terri said: “Taylor is an outside person, but it has physically not been possible for him to be out in the garden, safety wise.
“He has been getting frustrated because he couldn’t use what’s in the garden, which he could see from the house. He’s heavy now he’s eight years old so it’s not possible to pick him up and move him around the garden either.
“Paul coming to finish off our garden for us once and for all has made me feel so overwhelmed. Just to know that Taylor can finally be himself outside the house again is wonderful. Thank you so much to him and to me&dee for putting us in touch.
“We’ve lived here for five years and he’s always just had to play on the drive or be carried down.
“me&dee has been wonderful for us. It’s more a case of what haven’t they done? They have just become family to us. That’s what they are now.
“Taylor goes through such a lot and now he’s got the warmer days outside to look forward to, it will help him forget things a bit.”
Materials for Taylor’s garden makeover were donated free of charge by Browns Builders Merchants Ltd of Derby.
Maria Hanson MBE said: “I was so happy when Paul and his team did such a beautiful job of finishing off Taylor’s garden. This is a family that has been through some of the most challenging times imaginable and our charity exists to try and bring some light through the dark times, listening to people’s needs and trying to make things a bit easier in whatever ways we can. Our charity offers very bespoke support, comfort and memory-making experiences. This garden makeover is the perfect example of the type of work we do, and how we try to be there for families who need help.
“We’d love to hear from more businesses who would like to offer their support, either by volunteering their services or through signing up for a monthly sponsorship. There are thousands of people like Taylor and his family who need help – it would be great to support many more.”
Photos show: The team from PB Landscapes with Mark Harrison and Maria Hanson MBE from me&dee join Taylor Lewis and mum Terri in his newly made over garden; Taylor presents Paul Bignall with a me&dee certificate of appreciation; the garden before the makeover