The wheels have been set in motion for a paralysed former Sudbury charity boss to return home.
Marion Blower, who was the manager of Sudbury Resource Centre, has been in hospital in Sheffield for nearly a year after sustaining a broken neck in a fall down a flight of stairs at her home in Boxford.
Mrs Blower has suffered numerous setbacks during treatment on a specialist spinal injuries ward, but has now reached the stage where plans are being made for her to move into a bungalow in Cats Lane, Sudbury.
“She is doing ok, not wonderful, but a lot better,” said her husband Bryn.
“She has had another chest infection but that is clearing up and she is much better.”
An appeal – supported by the Free Press – to buy an electric wheelchair, designed to meet Mrs Blowers’ needs, reached its £8,600 target last month and money towards the cause continues to come in.
Mr Blower said his wife, who retired after 17 years working with adults with learning difficulties last January, had been making use of the wheelchair in recent weeks.
“She has been out in the chair and driving it around,” said the 70-year-old.
“It makes a real difference as she can take herself out, rather than being pushed, and it allows her to be able to get in the car and get out.”
Mrs Blower, who at one point was placed in an induced coma after experiencing difficulty breathing, is now only using a ventilator during the night, and doctors are pleased with her progress.
“Moves are being made to process the paperwork, which will allow Marion to come home,” said Mr Blower.
“It has been sent off to the local authority in Suffolk, but there are still a few things to tick off and, as Marion will still need a ventilator, the care plan has to be adapted and the care will be more frequent.”
He added that he was hopeful his wife would leave hospital during the summer.
“I don’t like to tempt fate, as we have got our hopes up before, but things are going in the right direction and we hope that continues,” said Mr Blower. “It may only be a few more months.”
Val Goodchild and former Sudbury town clerk Sue Brotherwood, who are friends of Mrs Blower, visited her in hospital earlier this month.
Mrs Goodchild said she believed the wheelchair was helping her recovery.
“She has spent months lying on her back but, thanks to the wheelchair, she can sit up and at least go out and get some fresh air,” she said. “It is making a real difference.
“She is mainly upbeat and looks forward to visitors and cuddles with her grandchildren,” she added.