A HUGE project by volunteer tradespeople to help a Herefordshire builder – who was left paralysed after a freak accident – in a bid to help him gain greater independence will be finished this weekend.

Band of Builders (BoB) completed the first phase of the project in October 2022 to level the flooring on the ground floor of the Almeley home of Martin Wilks. Volunteers also widened doorways to make it easier for him to move around in his wheelchair.

Up to a dozen volunteers from the national construction charity – which completes practical projects to help members of the UK construction industry who are battling illness or injury – are returning to install new flooring and tiling, carry out electrical work and decorate.


They will complete the project this weekend (January 28 and 29).

This will be the third time that BoB volunteers have answered the call to help Mr Wilks – who was left paralysed from the chest down after falling off a stepladder in June 2018 and hitting his head on a concrete planter, causing a severe traumatic brain injury.


 Ella Turner and Martin Wilks

Ella Turner and Martin Wilks


He was initially put in an induced coma and also suffered strokes, seizures, infections, pneumonia and a lung abscess while in hospital.

The 68-year-old finally returned to his home in Almeley, near Kington, in February 2019 after regaining some of his independence following a long period of rehabilitation.

Want to stay up to date with all the latest news for your local area? It's easy, just sign up for our free weekly email newsletter here and all the important stories that matter to you will be delivered straight to your inbox.

In the same year, a team of BoB volunteers travelled to the general builder’s home to install a new wood-burning stove to replace an unsafe and impractical open fire.

After the initial project, his family and friends crowdfunded to build an extension and specialist wet room to help him regain his independence and live comfortably at home with his wife.

Speaking ahead of the project, Mr Wilks's wife Helen said: “Band of Builders is going to make such a difference to both our lives.


"At the moment, he spends his time either at the kitchen table or in bed, and he is dependent on me to move him around – but in the last year, my condition has worsened, meaning I need ambulatory oxygen, compounding the difficulties for caring for Martin.”

His daughter Hannah added: “We can’t thank BoB enough for its life-changing help for my dad – as he can finally regain some independence and relieve mum of her wheelchair-pushing duties. Both their day-to-day lives will be vastly improved. It’s amazing what Band of Builders does.”

This will be the 29th project that the charity has completed since it was founded in 2016, and is sponsored by Tarmac, the UK’s leading sustainable construction materials and building products business.


 Martin Wilks, from Almeley in Herefordshire, was left paralysed after falling from a ladder and hitting his head on a concrete planter

Martin Wilks, from Almeley in Herefordshire, was left paralysed after falling from a ladder and hitting his head on a concrete planter


Garry Gregory, packed products director at Tarmac, said: “We are always proud to get involved with and support the important work of Band of Builders.

"The life-enhancing projects they are delivering on behalf of those who work in the industry and their families are making a real impact where it’s needed most.

“We wish the team best of luck with the upcoming project for Martin and look forward to seeing the results. It’s an honour to work with Band of Builders again, and we look forward to being involved in many more projects to come!”

Want to stay up to date with all the latest news for Herefordshire? It's easy, just sign up for our free daily afternoon news briefing here and the day's top stories will be delivered straight to your inbox.

Jake Anderson, a longstanding BoB volunteer and the project lead for this phase of this project, said: “It’s a real privilege to be going back to do more for Martin.

"His family and friends have made an amazing effort to ensure he’s got the space and facilities to allow him some independence, and we’re hoping some of the changes we’re making will add to that and make him even more comfortable. We can’t wait to get cracking.”

The charity is also backed by other major names within the construction industry, including Jewson, Gibbs & Dandy, V12 Footwear, Talasey, Resideo and Haemmerlin.