House extension gives sick Wearside youngster a new lease of life

Matthew Brettell in his lift ready to go up into his bedroom.  Picture by FRANK REID
Matthew Brettell in his lift ready to go up into his bedroom. Picture by FRANK REID
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Christmas has come early for a Sunderland lad and his family - thanks to generous fundraisers.

Matthew Brettell can now live a more independent life thanks to a £116,000 adaptation of his Sunderland home.

Matthew Brettell with his Mum Maria (front right) and Vivian Watts of Hope4Kidz (centre) along with builders, contributors and fundraisers.  Picture by FRANK REID

Matthew Brettell with his Mum Maria (front right) and Vivian Watts of Hope4Kidz (centre) along with builders, contributors and fundraisers. Picture by FRANK REID

The 11-year-old’s family were left devastated when he was diagnosed with life-limiting condition, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, three years ago.

With the help of North East charity Hope 4 Kidz, Matthew’s Miles was launched to fund the extension to the Thorney Close home and the family are now back in time for the festive season.

Matthew’s mum, Maria, said having the work done to the Twickenham Road house has given the Oxclose Academy pupil a new lease of life.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a degenerative condition and within the next 18 months Matthew will be fully wheelchair bound.

Nothing can describe how grateful I am

Maria Brettell

Maria, 37, who is also mum to Naomi, 19, and nine-year-old Daniel, said: “The house is incredible, it means Matthew can access both floors without relying on someone to carry him upstairs.

“The whole house is fully accessible for him now and he has so much more independence, it has given him a new lease of life.”

She said: “I don’t know how to say such a huge thank you to everyone. Nothing can describe how grateful I am and how I feel about the generosity of the public. This is a massive thing for us.”

Vivien Watts, chief executive at Hope 4 Kidz, said: “The modifications mean that Matthew and his family can now lead as normal a life as possible, for as long as possible in their forever home.”

Work, which was completed by Sunderland-based Fitz Architects and Tunstall Construction Ltd, included the demolition of the garage and the construction of a two-storey extension, in order to give Matthew his own bedroom and bathroom upstairs and a small wet room on the ground floor, as well as a mini kitchen area.

The work also saw the installation of a disabled lift platform, a ramp, widened doors and a small living area for nursing staff.

Tunstall Construction Ltd donated £31,580 to the project and other businesses which gave their support included, Sorted PR, O’Brien’s Waste Recycling Solutions, Safe Seal, George Boyd Ironmongery, Thomson Waste, Hope Springs, Sunshine Fund, Sofa So Good, Durham Kitchens and Bathrooms, James Burrell’s and Taurus Utilities.