To date, the DIY SOS Big Build ‘Homes for Veterans’ Special is the most ambitious construction challenge undertaken by the building renovation TV programme. It involved the redevelopment of an entire dilapidated terraced street in Manchester to provide homes for injured servicemen and women. Lamin Manneh, a disabled ex-Guardsman, and his family were grateful recipients of one of the new accessible homes.
The two-part DIY SOS episodes generated significant press coverage as HRH The Duke of Cambridge and HRH Prince Henry of Wales visited the extensive two-week build. BBC production, in association with the charity Walking with the Wounded, aimed to provide 62 new homes for injured military veterans and their families. The Manneh family was a major focus throughout the show, with Lamin explaining to the Princes the huge difference a new accessible home would make to him, his wife and five children.
Lamin, originally from Gambia, moved to Britain in 2005 to join the British Army. As Gambia is a Commonwealth country, residents are allowed to join the British Armed Forces and Lamin served in the Irish Guards for five years. On New Year’s Eve 2010, he was severely injured by an exploding IED in Afghanistan resulting in the loss of both legs and one arm. Lamin survived this horrific ordeal and now continues to rebuild his life. He will be competing in the forthcoming Invictus Games (Orlando, 8-12th May) and is ‘honoured’ to be an Ambassador for the 2016 Mobility Roadshow later in the month. Lamin will be championing the show to all his contacts and will be attending the Roadshow as a VIP.
Since 1983, the Mobility Roadshow has been the UK’s leading disabled consumer event that showcases the latest assistive products and services for independent driving and mobility. This remarkable event is organised by the charity Mobility Choice so that the widest choice of accessible vehicles, adapted driving controls and mobility products can be trialled and tested. Being held at the iconic home of the British Grand Prix for the first time this year, the Mobility Roadshow will provide the unique opportunity for disabled drivers and passengers to test-drive the latest wheelchair-accessible and adapted vehicles around the Silverstone circuit.
Lamin comments: “I have always had a massive passion for cars and sport so the chance to attend the Mobility Roadshow and drive around Silverstone is a dream come true. I drive an adapted Qashqai however the opportunity to test drive the latest accessible cars at the Mobility Roadshow promises to be unforgettable. Just before attending the Roadshow I will have competed at Rowing, Archery, Shot put and Discus at the Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style tournament for disabled servicemen and women. Hence I will also be really looking forward to playing the various accessible sports available at the Roadshow event and sharing my Invictus experiences. Day-to-day living can be tough with physical disability, however keeping your mental health in good order can be harder. By coming to the Roadshow I hope I can help as many people as possible sustain a positive mental attitude.”
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