A Cambridgeshire centenarian is enjoying a new lease of life after a specialist modular bathroom manufacturer pulled out all the stops to give her a birthday gift to remember.
As tighter lockdown restrictions were introduced in her native North East, Mona Garbutt moved from her County Durham apartment to stay with her daughter and son-in-law, Ann and John Sharpley, in Pidley.
The couple converted their garden annexe to create a self-contained bedroom and en-suite for Mona, and approached Harrogate-based Taplanes to build a fully-equipped bathroom pod for the project.
The firm created a Dignity Pod, one of its latest domestic products, in record time, and it was presented to her gift-wrapped on the morning of her 100th birthday, on October 12th.
Taplanes managing director Tracey Phillips said: “Mona moved down to Cambridgeshire from her apartment in County Durham as the Covid-19 restrictions were limiting her active social life and number of visitors.
“After it became clear that it would be impossible to adapt the family bathroom to ensure Mona’s independence, Ann and John decided to convert their annexe into a bedroom and en-suite for her – and we were only too pleased to be able to help.
“It’s not every day somebody turns 100, and so we prioritised this project to ensure it was ready in time – our pods normally take around four weeks to produce but we managed to get this one ready within one week.”
Taplanes, which was established in 1979, manufactures pre-fabricated bathroom and shower pods for both commercial and domestic use. The pods are leakproof, recyclable and sectional, meaning they can easily be delivered to places with tight access.
The Dignity Pod, which is available as a built-in or a free-standing solution, is designed with a low floor and grab rails for safety, and is available in a range of sizes to allow for assistance if required.
To ensure the project was finished on schedule, John, former chief executive of Pilkington, contacted locally-based Taplanes Specification Engineer Dan Wilkinson, who visited the site and made his recommended design.
John said: “Dan’s design experience meant he was able to quickly produce a drawing that enabled us to submit the application for building control approval.
“This saved money on architects, but more importantly, the day after his visit, building control accepted our application, thus saving weeks on the project.
“The whole family is delighted with the solution – it’s cost-effective when compared with care home fees, which means my mother-in-law can retain her independence and it allows us all to spend more time together.”
Mona, who enjoys playing whist and spending time with her seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren, added: “The bathroom was delivered so quickly after I moved down to Cambridgeshire, and it has enabled me to have my own space, downstairs, and be independent.
“Getting it on my 100th birthday made a great day even more special and I’m very grateful to Taplanes for their help.”
Tracey added: “When the garden room is converted into a bedroom with en-suite bathroom, Mona will continue to enjoy independent living whilst being able to dine and socialise with her family when she chooses.
“Mona didn’t want to go into a care home, nor be restricted to her room, so converting an annexe with a bathroom pod provided the perfect solution.
“I’m really proud of the whole team – the way that they all worked to support the project meant it turned what could have been a stressful time for Mona, into a very positive experience.”
For more information about Taplanes, visit taplanes.co.uk.