Community rally around pensioner in hour of need

Four men standing outside the front door of a house with a ramp

Felix and Luke Jones with Mike Rock and Dave Lawrence - Credit:

Sidmouth pensioner Tom Prowse’s neighbours became good friends in a desperate hour of need.

The 78-year-old’s left leg was recently amputated due to an infection but when he was discharged from hospital, his home had not been modified to help him get about or even leave the property.
Caring residents rallied together to provide Tom with an electric wheelchair, bed guard and frame and a ramp from his front and back doors.

Tom, who also has kidney failure, requires dialysis in hospital three times a week but paramedics were unable to lift the former rugby player’s wheelchair out of the house without help from his neighbours.

Tom Prowse 

Tom Prowse - Credit: Tom Prowse 

Concerned that Tom would be unable to escape in an emergency, a group of them joined forces to carry out the urgent work that was needed.
Close neighbour Mike Rock, said: “It was a ridiculous situation. The poor ambulance crew would knock on neighbours doors asking for assistance because the house was so inaccessible by wheelchair.
“It wasn’t an option for Tom not to have the dialysis treatment and so something needed to be done, quickly!”

Mike, and father and son team Luke and Felix Jones, called in favours to gather the raw materials they needed and with a team of other volunteers installed the ramps which were loaned by Dave Lawrence from Sidmouth Mobility Services.
Dave said: “I have known Tom for five years and when I heard the predicament he was in I didn’t hesitate to help. It was the least I could do.
“He was really struggling to get around inside the property, let alone leave it.”

Tom, who lives in Lymebourne Park, said he couldn’t thank his neighbours enough.
He added: “It was fabulous what they did for me. I’ve lived here since 1971 and there has always been a great community spirit but this was above and beyond.”

Tom was a well known local builder and also played second row for Sidmouth Rugby Club in the 50s and 60s.
Mr Rock, who is also chair of Sidmouth’s Friends of Dream-A-Way group, said the paramedics were also grateful for the work being carried out.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter