New plan for lasting tribute to rugby player | 31 July 09

A LASTING tribute is being proposed for Tynedale Rugby Club player Ali Johnson with plans to transform his specially designed bungalow into a holiday home for people with disabilities.

Ali was left paralysed from the neck down whilst playing in a match for Tynedale in September 2004.

Funds raised by players, friends and family were put towards developing a specially adapted bungalow for Mr Johnson at his parents’ farm at Haltwhistle, Northumberland.

Tynedale Council eventually gave the go-ahead for the bungalow to be built in November 2007 after revised plans were drawn up with the help of law firm Ward Hadaway, who provided their expert legal help on a pro-bono basis.

Sadly, Ali died in December 2008 before the development could be completed.

Now the trustees of Ali Johnson’s estate and his family have lodged plans with Northumberland County Council to turn the bungalow into a holiday retreat for other spinal injury victims amongst others.

Once again, Ward Hadaway has helped to draw up the plans with head of the firm’s chartered town planners Andrew Moss again working on a pro-bono basis.

Andrew said: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to help Ali and his family out with the original application for the bungalow, so we at Ward Hadaway had no hesitation in offering our services when we were asked for our assistance again.

“This application seeks to vary three conditions of the original planning consent in order to allow people who suffer from similar injuries to Ali the chance to get a very welcome break in the beautiful Tynedale countryside.

“If the application is approved it will mean a very fitting and lasting tribute to Ali can be built.”