Sunderland FA Cup-winning legends kick-off £70,000 work to adapt disabled boy's home

A pair of Sunderland AFC legends have officially kicked off work to adapt a disabled Black Cat fan's home so that he can live a better life.

Friday, 8th April 2016, 3:41 pm
Updated Friday, 8th April 2016, 3:47 pm
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy sufferer Matthew Brettell, 10, with ex-SAFC players Bobby Kerr (left) and Micky Horswill

Ten-year-old Matthew Brettell, of Thorney Close, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy three years ago, leaving him virtually wheelchair-bound, requiring assistance to get upstairs and to use the bathroom.

Now, city charity Hope 4 Kidz is helping the youngster and his family to raise more than £70,000 and appeal for gifts in kind so that a range of adaptations can be made to their home through the Matthew’s Milestone appeal.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy sufferer Matthew Brettell, 10, with ex-SAFC players Bobby Kerr (left) and Micky Horswill

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Former Sunderland AFC captain Bobby Kerry and ex-midfielder Micky Horswill, both members of the club’s victorious 1973 FA Cup-winning side, were on hand to break ground as work got underway at the Brettell family home, in Twickenham Road.

Micky, aged just 19 when the Wearsiders beat Leeds United 1-0 at Wembley and now treasurer at Hope 4 Kidz, told the Echo: “It’s fantastic what is being done for Matthew.

“We’ve raised £37,000 for the appeal and even with the Government grant we’re £8,000 short.

“If people can give us money to meet that, then that would be amazing. What’s happened has been a real heartache for the family and this will really help them.”

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy sufferer Matthew Brettell, 10, with ex-SAFC players Bobby Kerr (left) and Micky Horswill

Bobby said: “It’s a shame that we have to raise money to help kids like Matthew but the support of the Sunderland people has been magnificent.

“They haven’t sat back, they’ve supported Matthew and hopefully in the next six months everything will be finished and life will be a lot easier for him and his family.”

Matthew currently shares a bedroom with his brother Daniel, but the room is not large enough to accommodate his electric wheelchair and the medical equipment he will need in future.

Work set to take place will include the demolition of the garage and the construction of a two-storey extension in order to give Matthew his own bedroom and bathroom, a small wet room on the ground floor with an overhead tracking and hoist, as well as a mini kitchen area.

The plans will also see the installation of a disabled lift platform, a ramp, widened doors and a small living area which would double as overnight accommodation for nursing staff.

Sunderland-based Fitz Architects and Tunstall Construction Ltd have also come on board, offering their services free of charge.

Wearside businesses are also being asked to support the adaptations by donating gifts in kind such as building materials, labour, kitchen, bathroom, interior furnishings and decorating.

Matthew’s loving mum Maria, 36, married to his dad Gavin, 41, said: “It is a case of mixed emotions for us because we’re nervous about everything but really happy that the work is starting.

“The support we’ve had is just overwhelming.

“We’re still hoping that people will come forward to provide help with the materials we need, and we’ll still be doing fund-raising

Clinton Mysleyko, director of Fitz Architects, said: “Fitz Architects is very happy to be involved in this project and offer its services for free to help Matthew and the appeal.”

Director of Tunstall Construction Ltd Brent Ganley said: “When Hope 4 Kidz contacted us we had no hesitation in wanting to be involved as we have been very touched by the story and knew that we could make a difference.”

For further information about Matthew’s Milestone or how to get involved with the appeal, call Hope 4 Kidz on 534 7788, email [email protected] or log on to