King’s Lynn inventor honoured for developing device to help motor neurone disease patients

Allen Norris with his aide to nose wiping at the Volunteer Fair in the Dukes Head Hotel on Tuesday. ANL-150206-140505009
Allen Norris with his aide to nose wiping at the Volunteer Fair in the Dukes Head Hotel on Tuesday. ANL-150206-140505009
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Ingenious West Norfolk inventor Allan Norris says seeing the smile on the face of who he helped meant more to him than winning a national award in an annual competition.

Mr Norris, a volunteer with the Norfolk West Remap charity group which makes bespoke equipment to help people overcome every day challenges, designed a device to help motor neurone sufferer Bernard Curtis.

Unable to pick up tissues to blow his nose and fed up with having to call his wife to help him do this, Mr Norris invented a gadget which allowed the late Mr Curtis to overcome his dilemma.

Mr Norris, from Springwood, said: “It’s lovely to be recognised, but the smile on Bernard’s face when it worked meant more to me.

“It was absolutely magic and I hope what I’ve done might encourage people to do something similar.

“I enjoy the challenge of solving problems like this and helping Bernard and others live as independently as possible.”

Mr Norris’ simple, but very effective device, was on display at the volunteer fair at the Dukes Head on Tuesday.

“It all came about when I made a stand for Bernard to put his newspapers on so he could reach them.

“He only had a little bit of movement left in his right arm and while I was there I asked if there was anything else I could do and he explained the problem he was having with picking tissues up.

“I went away and chewed it over. A tennis ball was too heavy so it needed to be a lightweight plastic ball which you could put a slit into.

“It had to fill his palm and have enough pinch in it to pick up the tissues.”

John Cole, chairman of the local REMAP group in West Norfolk, South Lincolnshire and North Cambridgeshire, said: “The group are always looking for volunteers with an engineering or craft background.

“It gives immense satisfaction when achieving a successful solution to the many different problems presented.”

Remap chief executive Adam Roe said: “Our volunteers produce more than 3,000 solutions like this for disabled people every year.

“Our annual awards provide an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our volunteers. The judging panel had such a difficult job as the standard of entries was so high.”

If you think Remap could help someone you know, contact John Cole on 01485 542412.