Disabled man's communication hope

Miles Jermy AFTER spending his life without the power of speech, a disabled man will soon finally be able fully to express himself.The target was reached this week for a fundraising appeal to provide an electronic communication device for Keith Ferridge.

Miles Jermy

AFTER spending his life without the power of speech, a disabled man will soon finally be able fully to express himself.

The target was reached this week for a fundraising appeal to provide an electronic communication device for Keith Ferridge.

A total of £8,000 has been raised in just six months for cerebral palsy sufferer Mr Ferridge from Great Yarmouth.

The final sum of £500 was donated by offshore company Subsea 7 to the appeal organised by Yarmouth-based disability charity Centre 81.

The cheque was presented by Stuart Yaxley, a diving systems supervisor with Subsea 7, on Wednesday.

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Mr Yaxley got to know Mr Ferridge through his wife Lisa, who used to work as a cook at Centre 81 in Tar Works Road.

He said: “I was introduced to Keith when I used to pick Lisa up from work and he would often challenge me to a game of chess.

“We were reading the Mercury and saw the appeals on behalf of Keith and I told Lisa there was a possibility that I could arrange a donation using funds from Subsea 7s safety incentive scheme.

“Subsea 7 has a strict safety culture and encourages all its employees to report any hazards or observations that could compromise our safety performance, and as a result we are rewarded with donations that can be given out to charities of our choice.”

Mr Ferridge is a well-known figure in the town where he has touched the hearts of people with his zest for life and infectious sense of humour.

He is only able to make himself understood to family members and friends, but was not considered sufficiently disabled to be given a communication device.

Appeal organiser Nikki Pitts said: “People's generosity has astounded me; so many have wanted to help it has exceeded all our expectations.”

Further donations have been received from Vincent De Paul Society £500, Cobholm Community Centre £300, Acorn Country and Western £200, Sue Osbourne £50, Jo Hawes £25, Great Yarmouth Lions £200, Focus £100, Mrs Nightingale £50, Great Yarmouth Rotary Club £200, North Sea Petroleum Golfers Association £1,200, Boston Putford Offshore £250, Magdalen Video Shop £121.50, Mencap £500, People in Need Supporters £999.80.