THE FAMILY of Whitby schoolboy Dale Milne are facing an anxious wait to discover whether the family can share Christmas together .
Following the incident in July, which left Dale paralysed from the neck downwards, the family home in St Peter’s Court is not currently equipped to deal with his special needs and so despite being well enough to return, he is forced to remain at Middlesbrough’s James Cook Hospital.
Plans for the adaptation of the house have been submitted, but with Scarborough Borough Council yet to find a company to complete the work, it is almost certain that Dale will not be allowed home before Christmas.
“Dale could come home tomorrow,” said dad Ian Milne.
“The family are fully-trained, but he needs a hospital bed and all the equipment that goes with it.
“We’re getting an extension built, coming out the side and through the garden which will include a wet room and his new bedroom.
“At the moment we’re waiting for the building contract to come to tender, but we’re wondering what are we going to do at Christmas?”
With the building work expected to take around two months, it is extremely unlikely that the adaptations to the house would be completed before Christmas, with March a more realistic target.
This leaves the family with a dilemma about what to do over the Christmas period, especially if the area receives the same poor weather conditions that would restrict travel.
James Cook Hospital does have a dedicated apartment where families can stay with patients, but demand for this facility is expected to be highest over Christmas.
It is also reserved primarily for patients who are on the spinal ward, whereas Dale is staying on the paediatric ward and Ian added: “If we could get him home for Christmas it would be fantastic, but it might not happen now.
“The only way we could stay together at Christmas is if we were to stay at the spinal department’s family facility at the hospital, but because Dale is on a different ward we won’t be a priority and other people will be in front of us in the queue.”
Andrew Rowe, Scarborough Borough Council’s Housing Manager said: “SBC’s Home Improvement Agency has been assisting the family through the application process for a Disabled Facilities Grant toward the cost of extending Dale’s home.
“Given the extent of work needed, planning permission has been required as part of the grant application process.
“As with all planning applications the process has taken approximately 8 weeks but this has now been approved.
“The Home Improvement Agency, on the family’s behalf, will be putting the works out to tender by the end of this week.
“Once tenders have been received and the family has chosen their preferred contractor to carry out the work, we will know how much the works will cost and how much grant the family will be eligible to receive from the council.
“At that point, when a contractor has been chosen by the family, we will have a better understanding of how long the work is likely to take to complete.”
This Sunday (6 Nov) Tucker’s Bar at the Rifle Club is hosting a family fun day with all the proceeds going to the Dale Milne benefit fund.
With music from Keith Swales and The Watershed Jammers, the event takes place between 12noon and 11pm.
There will be pool and darts knockout competitions, karaoke, a quiz, and weather-permitting a trampoline and bouncy castle.