'I could not thank them in a lifetime': Northamptonshire stroke victim thanks village for building her a new bathroom

Shelley Balding suffered a stroke seven years ago and has recently seen local tradespeople renovate her bathroom all for free to help her mobility. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.
Shelley Balding suffered a stroke seven years ago and has recently seen local tradespeople renovate her bathroom all for free to help her mobility. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Traders have joined forces to build a specialist wet room for a 47-year-old who had her life turned upside down after she suffered a stroke following her 40th birthday.

Former legal secretary Shelley Balding of Brixworth had a stroke seven years ago, which left her completely unable to walk and means she now suffers epileptic seizures every other day.

Shelley is eternally grateful for all the manual labour and donations pledged to her cause. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

Shelley is eternally grateful for all the manual labour and donations pledged to her cause. Pictures: Kirsty Edmonds.

After a life-changing plea was issued on Facebook six months ago by a village resident, Julie Wykes, tradespeople of Brixworth village have since been giving their time, entirely for free, to help create a wet room for Shelley to use.

Finally, this month, Shelley and her husband David will see the project reach the finish line with the remaining tiling in the wet room to be placed on the wall.

Shelley, who is cared for round-the-clock by her husband and brother, said: "I think there are no words that could describe the kindness and support this village has shown.

"Community spirit is still alive. I could not thank them in a lifetime.

Nichola wants to thank all those involved in the building effort, including those pictured and Swoon, Route1Express, ASK Tiling, Big Phat Print, Johnstones, JPP, Walls and Floors, and LB Contracts, among many others.

Nichola wants to thank all those involved in the building effort, including those pictured and Swoon, Route1Express, ASK Tiling, Big Phat Print, Johnstones, JPP, Walls and Floors, and LB Contracts, among many others.

"My life has been on hold for a long time but I've got too much to look forward to this year, I always have a smile on my face. When my daughter said I was going to be a nan, last year ended on a high."

After becoming totally dependant on her loved ones, Shelley's change of lifestyle meant that she and her family had to downsize house, which became increasingly unsuitable for her needs.

Shelley's seizures left her needing to use the family’s living room as a bedroom and with no way of getting upstairs, washing became difficult and often embarrassing.

The downstairs toilet was difficult to get to through a narrow corridor and the door could not be closed because of Shelley’s wheelchair.

Walls in a dis-used shower and toilet room have now been knocked down to create one room for Shelley's wheelchair. This photo was taken before the project.

Walls in a dis-used shower and toilet room have now been knocked down to create one room for Shelley's wheelchair. This photo was taken before the project.

If she had a seizure whilst in the bathroom it was very hard for her husband to get to her quickly to ensure she did not cause herself serious harm.

A very basic requirement on her wish list was to be able to go to the toilet in her own home and to be able to shut the door easily and have the freedom to move about independently.

Friend of Shelley, Nichola Haysey also helped to co-ordinate the campaign and designed the project, she said: "The objective is, and has always been, just to help Shelley have a little positive space that she can share with her nearest and dearest, to give back to her a little of what she has lost and to also give back to her some degree of independence and happiness if at all possible."

Nichola is also aiming to design a new sitting area, which can be used by Shelley and her husband David as a separate space to her bedroom - when she needs to sleep downstairs.

Shelley added: "The village has overwhelmed me with their kindness. I owe Nichola and Julie everything."