Community Champions: Denise nets nomination for helping friend’s brain-damaged son return home

PUBLISHED: 15:59 13 February 2017

Denise Richards, from Worle, with David Pollard, Ryan's dad.

Denise Richards, from Worle, with David Pollard, Ryan's dad.

David Pollard.

Nominations for Community Champions of Weston have begun and the first Mercury profile celebrates Denise Richards, who raised thousands to help an old friend.

Community Champions.Community Champions.

Denise, who lives in Worle, has been nominated for one of the new Community Champions awards after raising money for Ryan Pollard, a 24-year-old who was left with severe brain damage when he suffered a blocked ventricle at the age of 19.

Ryan’s family home is in Hartcliffe, in Bristol, but he is living miles away in Gloucester in a rehabilitation centre – meaning his family can only see him in short stints each week.

Denise runs Sweets ‘n’ Things, in Worle, and has bought stock from Ryan’s dad – David Pollard – for 13 years. The Pollard family needed £60,000 to adapt their house so Ryan could move back in; they secured a £30,000 grant but still had a mountain of cash to raise.

Determined to help, Denise set up a crowdfunding campaign to get Ryan home. She appeared on radio programmes and the campaign has since secured the help of DIY SOS to complete the work.

Ryan Pollard.Ryan Pollard.

Denise has now been nominated for a Community Champions award – which is sponsored by the Nightingale Group and run in partnership with the Mercury with the aim of celebrating Weston’s unsung heroes.

The nomination says: “Ryan is confined to a wheelchair, on permanent ventilation and fed through a tube into his stomach... Ryan’s one wish is to come home.

“The target has now been reached and Ryan will get home. Without Denise, this wouldn’t have happened.”

For more information on how to nominate someone for a Community Champions award, before the deadline on March 20, click here.

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