Almost a decade, they say, after first calling for pavement repairs, a Gilford family are overjoyed at recent work that has literally freed a seriously ill woman from the confines of her own home.
According to her daughter Juanita, cancer patient Helen Millar was a virtual prisoner in her Woodlands home in Gilford because the simple act of pushing her wheelchair to the car, over the uneven paving, inflicted unbearable pain.
Now the family is pouring praise on the Ulster Unionist Upper Bann MLA they credit with succeeding in having the work done.
“Jo-Anne Dobson got on the case,” said Juanita, “and when she saw how ill my mother was, and how much difference this work would make, she got straight onto having the kerbs lowered at Woodlands.
“They did the whole of Woodlands, resurfacing the paths and lowering kerbs.”
Juanita said the paving issue long pre-dated her mother’s illness.
Her father, Desmond Millar, had years before tripped and broken his shoulder in the fall, she said.
“For nine years we had been fighting for this and getting nowhere,” she said. The path was dreadful.
“You would see work being done in all the bigger towns but Gilford just seemed to have been forgotten.”
Helen’s illness added a new urgency to the family’s campaign.
“We were all so distraught because mum couldn’t even get out of the house,” said Juanita.
“She was in so much pain with the cancer and it shook her up so badly in the wheelchair that her body couldn’t bear the pain of it.”
Juanita said her mother couldn’t thank Jo-Anne Dobson enough, so great a difference the work had made.
“It really has made such an immense change to my mum’s life,” she said.
“We’re just so grateful for what she (Mrs Dobson) did and we wanted to show our appreciation.
“We just couldn’t thank her enough for what she has done.
“Now we can get mum out in the wheelchair and get her in and out, and with her illness she needs to get out as much as possible.”
Mr Millar recently presented Mrs Dobson with a bouquet of flowers as a mark of the Gilford family’s sincere gratitude for all her efforts on their behalf.