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A kitchen that offers independence

Corporal Phil Eaglesham was on the last day of a six-month deployment in Afghanistan with Royal Marines 40 Commando when he became ill...

Corporal Phil Eaglesham in new home

After returning to the UK and being admitted to hospital, Phil was diagnosed with Q fever, which is a rare bacterial infection.

Phil developed flu-like symptoms, fatigue and sweating, which progressed into muscular weakness and leaving him confined to a wheelchair. For the years following his diagnosis, life was a constant struggle for both Phil and his wife, while they dealt with the physical challenges of a non-wheelchair friendly house.

Three charities; the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, The C Group and Go Commando partnered with Torquay-based Haldon Construction Consultants to design and build a brand new home for Phil and his family. Howdens’ Taunton depot was contacted by Haldon Construction Consultants to plan the kitchen for the family.  Many Taunton residents, some of whom work at the Taunton depot, have connections and a strong loyalty to the local 40 Commando Unit, so Depot Manager Darren Whitmarsh and Assistant Manager Kathie Tanner were more than happy to help.

The depot planned and donated the kitchen encompassing a central island unit with breakfast bar, which was adapted to provide a lower worktop area suitable for wheelchair access. This enables Phil and his family to eat and prepare food in the same area. Healthy eating and nutrition is important to Phil and having represented Team GB at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, it is important for him to have the independence to prepare his own meals.