A former gymnast left paralysed following a horrific accident has been ‘abandoned’ by a builder who left a “vital” job half-done due to fears over coronavirus.
Josh Harcourt, 32, once a Great British gymnast tipped for the Olympics, was let down after builders removed an access ramp to a hydrotherapy pool which is crucial to his treatment.
He said leaving without replacing the crucial ramp was “morally wrong.”
But the builder excused his actions by saying he was afraid of Covid-19.
Josh’s mum, Maxine Harcourt, had paid £2,800 to Peter’s Decking Services to replace a wooden platform at the family home.
She received a text “out of the blue” saying the company, based in Chatham, Kent, was unable to finish the job leaving the back garden looking like a building site.
Despite receiving a refund, the deserting builders have left Josh in a dilemma as he cannot access his purpose-built indoor pool.
Josh, who lives with his family in Rochester, Kent, attends a relentless course of physio sessions throughout the week following his shocking accident in September 2004.
At the time, the 16-year-old school boy had been tipped to take part in the Commonwealth Games and Olympics.
But his dreams of becoming a world-class athlete were shattered when he broke his neck during a practice session.
The trained coach has been confined to a wheelchair ever since and told it is unlikely he will ever walk again.
Initially, Josh was paralysed from the chin downwards, but after extensive surgery and physio training he has gradually gained significant movement which allows him to lead an independent life.
The former gymnast, who is now engaged to 31-year-old lettings agent Rachael Kay, said: “The pool is an important part of me gaining and maintaining strength. The builders could see I needed a ramp to get to it.
“They did put in one but it was far too steep for my wheelchair, so they took it out. If they were going to pull out surely they should have prioritised and done the ramp. I think it’s morally wrong.”
His mum, Maxine, added: “They have well and truly left us in the lurch. The ramp they built was like a ski slope. We are willing to pay but are finding it difficult to get somebody else to do the job.”
Peter, who declined to give his surname from Peter’s Decking Services, said: “I felt the work was a bit beyond what we thought at the time of pricing it up, sadly I cannot comment on why we had to leave, it was for personal reasons. I was afraid onsite for the virus basically.
“And I am sure that with the funds returned they will be able to find another company to carry on with the work.”
The family moved to the four-bedroom house, which includes a gym, in 2008 after Josh was awarded £5 million compensation for the accident.