Exactly a year since the Free Press launched an appeal to help a severely disabled five-year-old girl, work on adapting her home has begun.
The family of Megan Roper, from Long Melford, had been fundraising for four years in a quest to transform their home to better suit her complex needs.
Stuck at just short of £10,000 and needing more than four times that amount, the Free Press joined the family’s effort last March.
Thanks to the generosity and determination of readers, the appeal total was reached before Christmas and on Monday workers started building a lift, specially adapted bathroom and sensory area for Megan at the home she shares with parents Sarah and Carl and sister Ruth in Swanfield.
“It is scary that everything has happened so fast and we can’t wait for the work to get done,” said Carl.
Donations for the appeal came in all shapes and sizes, with countless people taking part in marathons, bike rides, quizzes and sales.
“It is a very exciting time, but I’m also nervous because it has taken so much work to get to this stage,” said Sarah, 39.
“We can’t thank all the people who have helped out enough – they have been incredible.”
The project, which is expected to take 15 weeks to complete, is intended to make life more manageable for Megan, who suffers from a mystery condition and cannot talk, walk or feed herself.
“We never thought we would reach this point and it seems surreal,” said Sarah.
The total build is to cost £76,000. Around £20,000 was raised through the appeal, with a £26,000 grant from the Civil Service Benevolent Fund and a disability facility grant from Babergh District Council making up the remainder.
Free Press editor Philip Minett said: “The success of the appeal is down to our readers who have gone above and beyond to help the Roper family when they most needed it. I’m delighted work is starting.”