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Ex-Ireland cricketer Andrew Patterson left stunned after £32k raised for home lift

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Andrew Patterson on the cricket pitch with his brother Mark in 2008

Andrew Patterson on the cricket pitch with his brother Mark in 2008

Happy family: Andrew Patterson with wife Sarah and children Ella (right), Brooke and Drew

Happy family: Andrew Patterson with wife Sarah and children Ella (right), Brooke and Drew

Andrew Patterson on the cricket pitch with his brother Mark in 2008

A former Ireland international cricketer said he's been left astounded by the public's generosity after more than £32,000 was raised within 48 hours towards a lift for his home.

Andrew Patterson won 61 international caps from 1996 to 2002, played English County Cricket for Sussex and represented Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in 1998.

He was diagnosed with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia, a progressive weakness and stiffness of the legs, in March 2013 and will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Two weeks ago a further diagnosis told him the disease will get progressively worse, and quickly.

"I don't even know where to start thanking people," said the 45-year-old father-of-three, originally from Newtownabbey, who had been facing a bill of thousands of pounds to adapt his home to his needs.

"This is going to make a huge difference. Even knowing living conditions are going to be sorted is a big weight of my mind and a real relief for my family. It will change my life completely.

"What has been wonderful to see is some of the names popping up of who has had the kindness to donate. So many people I've met over the years.

"That's brought back a lot of happy memories and to be honest it's an unbelievable response."

The gofundme campaign was started just two days ago by Andrew's friend Darron Kokott.

"I thought when Darron started this there might be a few hundred raised, maybe £1,000 if lucky," said Andrew, whose plight was highlighted in the Belfast Telegraph yesterday.

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Happy family: Andrew Patterson with wife Sarah and children Ella (right), Brooke and Drew

Happy family: Andrew Patterson with wife Sarah and children Ella (right), Brooke and Drew

Happy family: Andrew Patterson with wife Sarah and children Ella (right), Brooke and Drew

"I'm very humbled by it and sincerely thank everyone who has donated. It's just incredible."

Now living in England, where he still works in an administrative role with the PE Department at Catherham School in Surrey, Andrew was first alerted to a problem when he started losing his balance 10 years ago.

"How fast the condition worsens depends on the individual. For now I'm getting around on a Zimmer frame with wheels.

"I didn't expect it to snowball so quickly and as well as needing a lift to get upstairs I will also need an ensuite for the bedroom. This will allow me to get that work done."

To help Andrew, visit gofundme.com/f/help-father-of-three-stay-mobile

Belfast Telegraph


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