Couple's winter wonderland fund raiser for a friend in need

Paul, Clare and Simon present the cheque to Sue Targett watched by staff from the stroke therapy unit.
Paul, Clare and Simon present the cheque to Sue Targett watched by staff from the stroke therapy unit.

A kind hearted couple transformed their front garden into a winter wonderland and raised hundreds of pounds to thank NHS staff who helped a close friend recover following a serious illness.

Paul and Clare Earnshaw have given their home a Christmas makeover complete with thousands of decorations, snowmen and reindeer for the past eight years.

And when Paul’s friend Simon Burrows (44) suffered an unexpected stroke on Boxing Day 2015, Clare and Paul, who own Nelson based Fresh Fire and Security and live in Gisburn Road, Barrowford, decided to make their latest Christmas spectacular a charitable one.

And their magnificent efforts raised £720 for East Lancashire Stroke Therapy Team who helped Simon during his rehabilitation.

Paul said: “I’ve known Simon since we were at Edge End school together.

“When we heard about Simon’s illness, we were both shocked.

“You don’t expect to have a stroke at such a young age.

“Every year people travel miles to see our winter wonderland and they were exceptionally generous last Christmas when we for our first festive fundraising effort.”

After several weeks of treatment and rehabilitation at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital and more recently from the community stroke rehabilitation team, Simon, who now lives in Burnley, has recovered amazingly well, even keeping goal for his veteran’s football team in a national competition last month.

Simon said: “It’s been a difficult 18 months and I want to thank my friends Paul and Clare for their brilliant fundraising idea.

“I would also like to say thank you to the therapy team at Royal Blackburn hospital and the community team for their expert advice and support that has really helped my recovery.”

Stroke Therapy Team Manager, Sue Targett said: “We can’t thank Paul and Clare enough for their wonderful, unique way of fundraising.

“It’s great to see Simon looking so well and we have one or two pieces of extra equipment in mind so that the donation will directly benefit our patients.”

The team provides speciaist stroke services including physio, occupational, speech and language therapy.