Man left a prisoner in his own living room for two years after life changed overnight

-Credit: (Image: Band of Builders)
-Credit: (Image: Band of Builders)


A woman from Newport, whose husband suffered a stroke two and a half years ago, has spoken of the challenges they have faced. Dad-of-three, Keith Parry, aged 70, had been a prisoner in his own front room for the last two years after his life changed overnight.

However, thanks to his wife Linda Parry who appealed for the aid of a building charity - a project saw his life change for the better. Linda has described the Band of Builders' work as "phenomenal", and after experiencing the "hardest two and a half years ever", she now feels that the future is looking a "lot brighter" for the couple.

Speaking to WalesOnline, Linda recalled the day her husband of 42 years had suffered from a stroke in late 2021. "I remember every minute of it," she said. "We had been away to Bluestone with the kids and the grandchildren. It was December 2 that we went to Bluestone, we were there and then we came home on December 5.

READ MORE: Welsh TV presenter issues health update 12 months on from cancer diagnosis

LATEST: 'My family is living and dying in a tent in Gaza'

"We went upstairs to empty the bags after our weekend away and I heard Keith stumble as he was coming up the stairs and I went over and he said: 'No, I’m fine. I’ve just missed the step'. So he came all the way up the stairs and went into the smallest room in the house and I heard him fall again to the glass wardrobe. When I went in, it was obvious to me then that he had a stroke."

With Keith needing urgent care and an ambulance unable to reach him for the next five hours, Linda said that with the aid of her family and neighbours, they were able to get Keith to The Grange Hospital. While at the hospital, Keith received a CT scan, which found that he had suffered from a clot in the brain. Keith then received Thrombolysis, which dissolves blood clots and restores blood flow to the brain. But sadly, Keith suffered with another bleed on the brain during the night.

Linda with her family and neighbours were able to get Keith to The Grange Hospital -Credit:Band of Builders
Linda with her family and neighbours were able to get Keith to The Grange Hospital -Credit:Band of Builders

“I was absolutely devastated," Linda recalled. "After he had the Thrombolysis medicine, he was speaking and he was moving. But then the next day, when we went there, he couldn’t talk, he couldn’t move. Our lives changed in a heartbeat." The stroke had robbed Keith of his speech and mobility.

The former joiner spent a week in intensive care, before he was then moved to a ward and received treatment, care and rehabilitation for the next seven months. In May 2022 however, Keith's family were told that he would be able to return home, but healthcare professionals suggested that Keith be moved to a nursing home due to the severity of his stroke. However, Linda felt differently.

"I said no," she recalled. "I said: 'he’s coming home with me'. That’s not where he belonged, he belonged with me." Linda had a hospital bed and lifting equipment installed in the lounge of their home, where Keith has slept ever since. With his bed located under the stairs in his lounge, Keith had lived without privacy or facilities, prompting the comparison by local healthcare professionals to fantasy character Harry Potter, who had to live in a cupboard under the stairs in the world-famous books.

Keith was able to return to his family home in Newport seven months after receiving treatment and care following his stroke -Credit:Band of Builders
Keith was able to return to his family home in Newport seven months after receiving treatment and care following his stroke -Credit:Band of Builders

Due to their house being at the bottom of a steep bank, his family couldn't get him out of the house and he had only been out three times in the last two years. When Keith needed to attend medical appointments, two ambulance crews were required, and often the fire service were on hand to help as well. For the latest Newport news, sign up to our newsletter here.

“I look after him as best that I can," Linda said. "And our kids look after him as best as they can. He is the first to be cared for and we look after him to the best of our abilities". But Linda admitted that adjusting to a new life following Keith's return from hospital was "sad".

Linda got in contact with Band of Builders charity that was able to help her and Keith -Credit:Band of Builders
Linda got in contact with Band of Builders charity that was able to help her and Keith -Credit:Band of Builders

"It was sad for him," she explained. "When the nurses called, when the carers called, we’d always leave the room so they could do whatever they needed to do for him. He had no privacy, nothing at all, so that was a bit bad." But Linda was determined to make positive and lasting changes to Keith's living situation, which became possible through an "absolute fluke".

"I got a decorator through a friend," she said. "She came over and quoted me for the bedroom we were having decorated, and she said: ‘If you don’t mind me asking, what did Keith do when he was working?’, and I said: ‘He was a joiner’. And she said: 'Have you ever heard of Band of Builders?', I said no. She recommended that I look them up on Facebook, as she thought that we met the criteria. So, it was a fluke - an absolute fluke”.

Band of Builders, which was formed in 2016, is a registered charity and aims to complete practical projects to help members of the UK construction industry who are battling illness or injury. For each project, volunteers come together to help their fellow tradespeople through renovations or repairs to make a difference to their lives.

Linda has described the Band of Builders' work as "phenomenal", and after experiencing the "hardest two and a half years ever", she now feels that the future is now looking a "lot brighter" for her and Keith -Credit:Band of Builders
Linda has described the Band of Builders' work as "phenomenal", and after experiencing the "hardest two and a half years ever", she now feels that the future is now looking a "lot brighter" for her and Keith -Credit:Band of Builders

And that's exactly what they did for Keith. Following an appeal from Linda, the charity stepped in to help with the aid of nearly 50 tradespeople, including plant workers, bricklayers, builders, roofers, plumbers, electricians and decorators. The project, which lasted for three weeks, came to completion on Sunday, May 26.

During the project, the Band of Builders' team constructed an extension, which included a bedroom and wet room, as well as a better access for the garden. For the first time in two years, Keith will be able to have a shower in a wet room. Additionally, Keith will be able to go outside to his beloved garden regularly. According to Linda, the transformation is lifechanging - both for Keith and for her. She said: "The thing they have put up for us is absolutely beautiful and it is of the highest quality. The workmanship is second to none."

Linda, Keith and the Band of Builders' team who helped them change their living situation at their property in Newport -Credit:Band of Builders
Linda, Keith and the Band of Builders' team who helped them change their living situation at their property in Newport -Credit:Band of Builders

She added: "Keith's got some normality now, things that he can do for himself without having to wait for us to move him in and out or move furniture to get him out. It’s going to be so different. The future is a lot brighter. It’s been the hardest two and a half years ever.

"I have the biggest thank you for the Band of Builders - I cannot thank them enough. They've travelled from everywhere to get here - one drove from Anglesey, they’ve driven from all over the country. It has restored my faith in human kindness. They’ve offered it in spades, they are such lovely people It’s just been absolutely mind blowing."