Poorly Glapwell youngster’s sensory room appeal

Pictured is Andrew Blackburn with his poorly son Zach and his wife Tricy, centre, and SSAFA's Chrsitine Plant, left.
Pictured is Andrew Blackburn with his poorly son Zach and his wife Tricy, centre, and SSAFA's Chrsitine Plant, left.

A couple is appealing for help to meet the costs of transferring vital sensory room furniture to a new home for their poorly son.

Former soldier Andrew and Tricy Blackburn, of Glapwell, are having to move out of their home which is being sold by the property owner and were told the cost of transferring their four-year-old son Zach’s sensory room furniture to a new home in Pleasley will be £3,000.

Christine Plant, of the Soldiers, Sailors Airmen and Families Association, originally helped arrange care support costs for Zach and teamed up with ABTA Lifeline which funded the £10,000 for the special sensory room at Glapwell to help the youngster who suffers with hydrocephalus, a brain tumour, autism and ataxia.

Tricy said: “We were at such a low point. Zach will never be independent and it’s hard, but our faith was restored through Christine Plant.”

The sensory resource firm ROMPA has reduced the cost of the transfer from £3,000 to £1,658.82.

ROMPA marketing manager Dan Casey said: “We like to help people where we can but it’s not something we can do with every project. However, we worked with Zach earlier in the year and we would like him to have the same room at his new home.”

However, SSAFA is still appealing for donations to help cover the cost of the room transfer for HGV driver Andrew and foster-carer Tricy.

Christine, of SSAFA, said: “Zach cannot eat properly, has limited language and balance problems and the room has made a big difference to his life that it would be great loss to his therapy if the features can’t be transferred.”

The Royal British Legion has also been helping Zach. Anyone wishing to help the Blackburns can contact SSAFA Branch Office, The Drill Hall, Cluster Road, Belper, DE56 1DQ or call 01773 828116.

The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association has repeatedly stepped in to help support former Glapwell soldier Andrew Blackburn, his wife Tricy and their poorly son Zach.

Andrew, who served with the Mercian Regiment, and Tricy struggled with the cost of hospital stays and specialist equipment during their four-year-old son’s treatments. Christine Plant, a caseworker with SSAFA Derbyshire’s Bolsover Division, raised £4,500 to help cover hospital visiting expenses and a family holiday. Funding came from the Royal British Legion, the Mercians and ABF - The Soldiers Charity. SSAFA also sourced a special car seat for Zach with help from Derbyshire county councillor Marian Stockdale.