The house build is coming along fine. It looks great. Below are some photos taken recently by Ben Harrison who was down there recently painting the exterior. Thank-you so much Ben. Also thank-you everyone who has donated to make this dream possible for Julia, Phil and the family.
2011 UPDATE ON THE THORN FAMILY
..... Thorn House Build
We are now in the process of starting the building project for the Thorn Family and have a new video clip of Phil's progress. Click on the link BELOW to view.
... restoring a life song
watch a day in their life...
Our Goal is the following...
1)Clear the mortgage on their house in Invercargill $150,000.
2)Purchase a purpose built vehicle for them as a family.
3)Establish a Trust Fund for the children’s education.
4)In conjunction with the Wellington Laura Fergusson Trust in approx 18 months build a purpose built home on Trust land for the Thorn Family. (At this time the Invercargill Property would be sold to help fund the building of a new home, a mutually beneficial agreement would be made between the Wellington Laura Fergusson Trust and Thorn Family)
5)Finance, Materials and Labour would be sought to complete this project.
Phil and Julia Thorn have been friends for most of their lives. Their families were friends and attended the same church. Phil and Julia went to the same schools. They married when Phil was 24 and Julia was 22. Phil had his own plastering
business, while Julia worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Wellington.
Through their church, Phil and Julia worked with youth, and each year took around 60 kids camping as part of the “Operation Jerusalem” project.
Julia undertook a course in Events Management, while Phil paid close attention to the camp grounds that they visited and watched how they operated.
Phil and Julia enjoyed each other’s company immensely and decided that they wanted to work together to make the world a better place for kids. When the Camp manager’s position became available at Kiwi Ranch in 1998, they saw their God given opportunity to make a difference and they jumped at it. When Kiwi Ranch was sold in 2003, Phil, Julia and family moved to Lakeside Park camp in Queenstown.
Phil and Julia loved camp life. It provided an awesome environment for their 2 children to grow up in. Phil loved working outdoors. He has a strong personal drive to be the best that he can be, and this flows over into helping others to achieve things that they wouldn’t have believed that they could achieve. Julia loves the power of community – of bringing a
diverse group of people together and watching them form bonds.
In September 2008, Phil was felling trees at the Camp. He came in one afternoon, saying to Julia that he didn’t feel well and he was going to bed in the spare room so that he didn’t disturb her. Julia got up to check on Phil during the night, realised that he was very unwell and called the ambulance (it appears that pollen infected his sinuses). For 2 weeks, Phil’s life hung in the balance. He was diagnosed as having meningitis. Phil survived, but the outcome of his battle to survive was that he had lost his sight, his hearing and was paralysed from the waist down.
Phil was in hospital for 9 months.
Phil, Julia and the children are currently living at the Wellington Laura Fergusson Community in Lower Hutt.
The Wellington Laura Fergusson Trust is only funded to provide services to individuals with physical disabilities. While previously the Trust has provided services to couples with disabilities, there had not been any requests for accommodation for families with children. An innovative project has enabled the Trust to work with other Government agencies to provide a setting where Phil could receive residential services and Julia and the children could be tenants on-site. The Wellington Laura Fergusson Trust remains responsible for the services to Phil.
The Thorns have been accommodated in a 3 bedroom house which was previously used for three individual clients. While it was recognised that the challenges of the special needs required by the family could be better met in a purpose built house, this is currently the most suitable accommodation available and has enabled the family to stay together.
The Wellington Laura Fergusson Trust has recently acquired a block of land adjacent to the current site and the Board of Trustees is currently exploring options for the land use in a strategic planning exercise. This land could provide an
exciting opportunity for the Grace Trust to build a house with features that would meet the specific needs of the Thorn family. It is expected that a suitable site could be available for building as early 2011.
The Grace project values the Wellington Laura Ferguson Trust’s relationship and commitment to the Thorn Family.
THIS IS WHERE WE NEED YOUR HELP
The Grace project needs to raise enough funds to pay for the building of a purpose built family home suitable for the Thorns. There would be legal documents set up to protect the ongoing interests of all parties involved. If more funds were available this project could become one of building accommodation to others with specific needs.
We would also like to fundraise funds to provide a mobility vehicle for the Thorn family.