A COMMUNITY is pulling together to give a former firefighter a DIY SOS makeover to allow him to enjoy his garden again.

Darren Black, 50, of Sceptre Close, Tollesbury, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in January 2015.

The muscle wasting disease has forced him out of his job as a firefighter, where he served for twenty years, and into a wheelchair, meaning he no longer has easy access to his garden.

It has meant a big change for Darren, who prior to diagnosis was a prolific fundraiser, running twelve marathons.

He said: “I can’t walk anymore. I still get out and about when I can but am in a wheelchair.

“I used to do a lot of physical stuff being a firefighter.

“I always wanted to do it since I was a youngster.

“I loved it, loved the people, and loved the work.

“I ran marathons back then, raising money for the firefighter’s charity and for a children’s hospice in London. It was something I always enjoyed doing.”

The community in Tollesbury are rallying around to install a ramp down to his patio which will let the “lifeblood of the community” enjoy his garden.

Mr Black said: “Being able to get out to my garden would be absolutely massive. I love the sounds, sitting out and listening to the birds.

“I would love to get back out there and enjoy it, especially at this time of year with the sun starting to come out.

“Just looking out the window and not being able to enjoy the smells and the sounds isn’t the same.”

Sara Carter, a fellow Tollesbury resident, came up with the idea after hearing of his condition.

She said: “I recruited people in the community and we are trying to sort this entrance to the garden. We have had support from Tesco, Bonz and the British Legion so far, and really want to get it sorted.

“He is the lifeblood of the community.”

The makeover is being held on Sunday, July 2.