Campaign for Ricky: Waterlooville dad ‘grateful’ after family, neighbours and strangers help to overhaul garden 

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WE ARE so overwhelmed by how many people want to help us.

Ricky Kirk and fiancée Clarissa had their lives turned upside down last year after the father-of-one suffered two back-to-back cardiac arrests on June 25 that has caused brain damage and left him almost blind.

Volunteers with Ricky (centre) and fiancee Clarrisa Knight (centre right). Picture: Duncan Shepherd

Volunteers with Ricky (centre) and fiancee Clarrisa Knight (centre right). Picture: Duncan Shepherd

But the pair from Cowplain have been left astounded by the outpouring of support by family, neighbours and strangers to help them renovate their garden that was on Ricky’s to do list before he was put in a coma and spent three months in Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Clarissa said: ‘When we moved into this house Ricky spent ages doing it all up and we put all the rubbish in the garden as it was going to be last on our to do list but then what happened, happened.

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‘Now we have so many people coming to help us sort it out.’

Pal Michelle Dewdney was the driving force behind ‘Campaign for Ricky’ and after an appeal in The News for help, neighbours, strangers and companies turned out on Saturday April 13 with their spades and forks at the ready.

Michelle said: ‘I have known these two for five years and I love them and after all they have been through I just thought they needed something nice.

‘It will be somewhere they can have BBQs in the summer and Ricky and George can play football together and make up for lost time.’

Sheffield-based Goalfix Sports sent the family a new football it is developing which is larger than a standard blind football and makes a sound upon impact – making it suitable for his reduced vision and safe for three-year-old George to play with.

Ricky, 39, said: ‘I can’t see how many people have to come help us but I can hear them getting busy and I can’t believe how many people have given up their time to help us.

‘I am truly grateful and I am excited to be able to play football with George. I think he thought I had left when I was in hospital and so we are rebuilding our relationship and being able to play out in the garden will definitely help us.’

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Julie Stevenson was one of many who turned out to the family’s Galaxie Road home to help with the effort.

The 53-year-old said: ‘I am a friend of a friend and I saw Michelle’s post and I thought what is a few hours of my time to help this family who have been through so much.

‘I have a big garden myself and it can be quite overwhelming at the best of times so it is great we can all use our skills to help them have a beautiful big garden to enjoy this summer.’

Fareham company L&S Waste Management provided skips for the day while Hopkins Fencing sorted new fencing for the garden, Wyevale Gardens Centre pitched in with some compost, Keydale Nurseries donated flowers and plants and Tesco provided a voucher for refreshments.

Wickes Waterlooville donated hippo bags, Havant and Waterlooville Football Club raised money for the cause andT.C Plant Operators LTD will be donating an outdoor play centre for George
Employees from DLF Gas Ltd, Imuve lettings and Balfour Landscapes were among those who came down to help on the day.

Clarissa added: ‘We are so grateful for everyone’s help and it has been a truly emotional day.’