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DIY SOS response praised in council leader's Christmas message

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The community response to DIY SOS was praised by Cllr James Waters
The community response to DIY SOS was praised by Cllr James Waters

A council leader has used his Christmas message to praise the local community spirit which saw hundreds turn out and volunteer to help a man left paralysed by a violent attack.

Cllr James Waters, leader of Forest Heath District Council, was referring to Mildenhall man Simon Dobbin and the BBC programme DIY SOS which last month turned up to transform the Dobbins’ family home in Peterhouse Close, in a project that was backed by both the council and Screen Suffolk.

“The response was so strong by the trades the programme turned away 900 offers of help,” said Cllr Waters.

“But it was not just the trades that showed up in strength day after day, often working in difficult conditions.

“Residents came with help for those working, baked goods and support. It was a pleasure to welcome back former Mildenhall resident Nick Knowles and the crew.

“Simon’s wife Nicole said in a radio interview: ‘He will have his dignity back’ and I think that is probably one of the best presents you can give someone.”

Cllr Waters also looked forward to the likely amalgamation of Forest Heath with St Edmundsbury Borough Council to form a new West Suffolk Council in 2019 following the announcement by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government that he was minded to support the plan.

“His announcement is a strong recognition of the compelling and aspirational business case we have put forward to better improve and transform local government while supporting, investing in and championing our communities,” said Cllr Waters.