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Lavenham: Alex McLauchlan, 12, is all smiles thanks to garden overhaul from WellChild and NatWest

PUBLISHED: 10:00 14 August 2014

Children's charity, WellChild is doing a garden make over for Alex McLauchlan (12) in Lavenham. Alex is pictured with mum, Susie McLauchlan.

Children's charity, WellChild is doing a garden make over for Alex McLauchlan (12) in Lavenham. Alex is pictured with mum, Susie McLauchlan.

Archant

A seriously-ill west Suffolk youngster will be able to enjoy the great outdoors more than ever after his family’s garden was transformed by a charity and local volunteers.

Alex McLauchlan, 12, was all smiles yesterday as workers from WellChild and local NatWest bank branches completely revamped his garden in Lavenham.

The two-day project will eventually see a bird’s nest swing, a planting bed and accessible play area installed in the previously overgrown garden, all to be enjoyed by Alex, mum Susan and her eight-year-old daughter Isabella.

Alex has a chromosomal abnormality and cystic fibrosis, which leaves him with limited communication skills and makes it difficult for him to walk. However, the happy 12-year-old was glued to the patio doors yesterday as he watched his new garden come to life.

Ms McLauchlan hailed the “fantastic” project, adding: “This will be the first garden we’ve had, and Alex especially likes to be outside, playing ball games. It’s something we can all enjoy as a family.

“I am so impressed at how quickly they’ve got stuff done – they’ve really put their backs into it.”

WellChild’s Lee Trunks arrived in Lavenham from Cheltenham yesterday morning and will be overseeing the project’s conclusion today.

“People find it hard to express the words when you hand this stuff over – they’re shell-shocked,” he said.

“We hear stories about children doing all sorts of things they haven’t done before.

“We often find it’s brought so much joy to the child, but also peace to the rest of the family.”

Project manager Mr Trunks was ably assisted by a band of volunteers from NatWest branches including Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge and King’s Lynn.

Ben Adlem, manager of the Bury branch, said: “It’s a very different day at the office and some of us are a little more skilled than others.

“But everyone is learning and doing their best and of course it’s all for a great cause.”

The Orwell Bridge remains open this morning but the strongest winds are expected after 8am.

One lane of the A12 was closed to traffic this morning, causing lengthy delays, due to a collision and oil spillage near Colchester.

These pictures from The Lattice Barn pub in Woodbridge Road will evoke fond memories for many from 1974.

A school near Bury St Edmunds is helping to raise funds to support education in Tanzania through a non-uniform day.

A Suffolk NHS trust has been ranked one of the best of the country, despite experiencing its most challenging winter on record.

Drivers are advised that it is “highly likely” the Orwell Bridge in Suffolk will shut during tomorrow morning’s rush hour amid forecasts of 65mph gusts.

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