Big-hearted Dan is a very special constable

Big-hearted Dan is a very special constable

Big-hearted Dan is a very special constable

First published in News

CARING constable Dan O’Connell is pulling out all the stops to help a crime victim welcome his seriously-ill wife from hospital.

Special constable Dan has recruited an army of coppers to help give Stephen and Maureen Ford's home a major facelift.

Dan first met Mr Ford, 67, when he took a statement from him after an attack in Billericay High Street on June 30.

He recalled: “It was a nasty assault. I took a statement from him at the police station and as we were talking, he opened up about how he was struggling to get social services to help to adapt his home for his wife, Maureen, who had broken her hip.

“She was in Basildon Hospital because of that and a number of mini-strokes.

“Mr Ford had been diagnosed with leukaemia but was refusing treatment until his wife was better.

“He was struggling to cope.

“I took him home and made him a brew and I could see he’d tried to do some work to the house, but needed some help.”

When Dan went home that evening, he went on Facebook to appeal to police colleagues to help.

He was delighted to be inundated with messages from colleagues, keen to get involved in what he dubbed “Operation Welcome Home”.

Dan added: “The support has been amazing.

“Many officers have been doing 12 to 14-hour days, helping out in Colchester after the murders.

“People who have not had time to help have donated overtime pay to help buy materials.”

Officers will be working all this week at the Fords’ house, off Outwood Common Road, fitting it in around their shifts to repaint the house, lay new carpets and give the garden a good going over.

Local businesses have so far offered paint and carpet, but Dan is still keen to hear from any others willing to donate materials.

He added: “I know it’s a big thing to ask but I’d love to be able to give them a whole new kitchen.

“We also want to hear from any companies which can help us with the garden.”

Mr Ford said he was still in shock, after hearing of the generosity of Dan and his colleagues.

He explained: “I’d been trying to get a new ramp outside the house so I can get Maureen’s wheelchair in and out.

“It has been difficult for me to admit I needed help, but I’ve been shaken by the kindness shown to me by Dan. He has totally restored my faith in human nature.

“He deserves a medal for what he has done for us.

“Maureen and I have been married 44 years. She’s everything to me. I’ve missed her something chronic while she has been in hospital.

“It’ll be an amazing surprise for her when she gets home and sees all the work.”

If you can help Dan, email him at danoconnell43@hotmail.co.uk

Comments (13)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:45am Tue 15 Jul 14

Robin Reliant says...

Good man, good story.
Good man, good story. Robin Reliant
  • Score: 26

8:58am Tue 15 Jul 14

andyman1971 says...

It's lovely to read heart warming good news for once. Well done and thank you.
It's lovely to read heart warming good news for once. Well done and thank you. andyman1971
  • Score: 21

9:02am Tue 15 Jul 14

Kim Gandy says...

Absolutely brilliant. However, this just shows up the crass uselessness of Social Services who have the worst reputation when it comes to getting the balance right.

They interfere in the lives of decent, ordinary people and poke their noses in where it's not wanted but when it comes to helping people who are in genuine need , they are sadly lacking. I wish I had a pound for every story I have heard where Social Services were seriously lacking.

I hope, if you are reading this and you are part of Social Services, that you hang your head in shame. I suppose this couple didn't tick all your boxes. And we all know which boxes you have to tick to get any help in this country nowadays.

What the hell is going wrong? We have the Fire Service investigating arson, where the police should be doing it and now we have the police doing what Social Services should be doing.

Hats off to all those who are helping this couple and yes, it does restore your faith in humanity but I think it's appalling that Social Services are yet again cocking a deaf un to genuine need.

Absolutely appalling. Yet another bunch of incompetent lefties who just don't know their @rse from their elbow.
Absolutely brilliant. However, this just shows up the crass uselessness of Social Services who have the worst reputation when it comes to getting the balance right. They interfere in the lives of decent, ordinary people and poke their noses in where it's not wanted but when it comes to helping people who are in genuine need , they are sadly lacking. I wish I had a pound for every story I have heard where Social Services were seriously lacking. I hope, if you are reading this and you are part of Social Services, that you hang your head in shame. I suppose this couple didn't tick all your boxes. And we all know which boxes you have to tick to get any help in this country nowadays. What the hell is going wrong? We have the Fire Service investigating arson, where the police should be doing it and now we have the police doing what Social Services should be doing. Hats off to all those who are helping this couple and yes, it does restore your faith in humanity but I think it's appalling that Social Services are yet again cocking a deaf un to genuine need. Absolutely appalling. Yet another bunch of incompetent lefties who just don't know their @rse from their elbow. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 13

1:32pm Tue 15 Jul 14

John the resonator says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
Absolutely brilliant. However, this just shows up the crass uselessness of Social Services who have the worst reputation when it comes to getting the balance right.

They interfere in the lives of decent, ordinary people and poke their noses in where it's not wanted but when it comes to helping people who are in genuine need , they are sadly lacking. I wish I had a pound for every story I have heard where Social Services were seriously lacking.

I hope, if you are reading this and you are part of Social Services, that you hang your head in shame. I suppose this couple didn't tick all your boxes. And we all know which boxes you have to tick to get any help in this country nowadays.

What the hell is going wrong? We have the Fire Service investigating arson, where the police should be doing it and now we have the police doing what Social Services should be doing.

Hats off to all those who are helping this couple and yes, it does restore your faith in humanity but I think it's appalling that Social Services are yet again cocking a deaf un to genuine need.

Absolutely appalling. Yet another bunch of incompetent lefties who just don't know their @rse from their elbow.
Well if social services were to provide this very large mount of hours and resources to everyone in this fellow's situation we would all be paying a massive amount more council tax or other council services would lose a large slice of their budget to social services. You can't have it both ways, a Rolls Royce service costs Rolls Royce money. I am sure many people in social services would love to provide help to this level. The same probably applies to professionals in many other public services. Just listen to a midwife lamenting the gap between what they would like to do and what their situation compels them.

On the story itself, what a great effort, top guy Dan and a top team coming to Mr and Mrs Ford's assistance.
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Absolutely brilliant. However, this just shows up the crass uselessness of Social Services who have the worst reputation when it comes to getting the balance right. They interfere in the lives of decent, ordinary people and poke their noses in where it's not wanted but when it comes to helping people who are in genuine need , they are sadly lacking. I wish I had a pound for every story I have heard where Social Services were seriously lacking. I hope, if you are reading this and you are part of Social Services, that you hang your head in shame. I suppose this couple didn't tick all your boxes. And we all know which boxes you have to tick to get any help in this country nowadays. What the hell is going wrong? We have the Fire Service investigating arson, where the police should be doing it and now we have the police doing what Social Services should be doing. Hats off to all those who are helping this couple and yes, it does restore your faith in humanity but I think it's appalling that Social Services are yet again cocking a deaf un to genuine need. Absolutely appalling. Yet another bunch of incompetent lefties who just don't know their @rse from their elbow.[/p][/quote]Well if social services were to provide this very large mount of hours and resources to everyone in this fellow's situation we would all be paying a massive amount more council tax or other council services would lose a large slice of their budget to social services. You can't have it both ways, a Rolls Royce service costs Rolls Royce money. I am sure many people in social services would love to provide help to this level. The same probably applies to professionals in many other public services. Just listen to a midwife lamenting the gap between what they would like to do and what their situation compels them. On the story itself, what a great effort, top guy Dan and a top team coming to Mr and Mrs Ford's assistance. John the resonator
  • Score: 9

5:08pm Tue 15 Jul 14

cropped hero says...

The vast majority of what Kim said is true. It is just a shame that as ever she threw the word -her favourite word as it goes -leftie - into the mix and spoiled it all.

but with the exception of the last sentence I do think most folk will agree with her.

Well done Dan and crew. Excellent bit of PR for the police.
The vast majority of what Kim said is true. It is just a shame that as ever she threw the word -her favourite word as it goes -leftie - into the mix and spoiled it all. but with the exception of the last sentence I do think most folk will agree with her. Well done Dan and crew. Excellent bit of PR for the police. cropped hero
  • Score: 7

5:19pm Tue 15 Jul 14

Maddogg says...

cropped hero wrote:
The vast majority of what Kim said is true. It is just a shame that as ever she threw the word -her favourite word as it goes -leftie - into the mix and spoiled it all.

but with the exception of the last sentence I do think most folk will agree with her.

Well done Dan and crew. Excellent bit of PR for the police.
Well said. Great story and good to read a cheerful story after murders, child snatching,people slipping on wigs on trains etc. Well done Dan.
[quote][p][bold]cropped hero[/bold] wrote: The vast majority of what Kim said is true. It is just a shame that as ever she threw the word -her favourite word as it goes -leftie - into the mix and spoiled it all. but with the exception of the last sentence I do think most folk will agree with her. Well done Dan and crew. Excellent bit of PR for the police.[/p][/quote]Well said. Great story and good to read a cheerful story after murders, child snatching,people slipping on wigs on trains etc. Well done Dan. Maddogg
  • Score: 5

5:46pm Tue 15 Jul 14

I Hate The Cops says...

John the resonator wrote:
Kim Gandy wrote:
Absolutely brilliant. However, this just shows up the crass uselessness of Social Services who have the worst reputation when it comes to getting the balance right.

They interfere in the lives of decent, ordinary people and poke their noses in where it's not wanted but when it comes to helping people who are in genuine need , they are sadly lacking. I wish I had a pound for every story I have heard where Social Services were seriously lacking.

I hope, if you are reading this and you are part of Social Services, that you hang your head in shame. I suppose this couple didn't tick all your boxes. And we all know which boxes you have to tick to get any help in this country nowadays.

What the hell is going wrong? We have the Fire Service investigating arson, where the police should be doing it and now we have the police doing what Social Services should be doing.

Hats off to all those who are helping this couple and yes, it does restore your faith in humanity but I think it's appalling that Social Services are yet again cocking a deaf un to genuine need.

Absolutely appalling. Yet another bunch of incompetent lefties who just don't know their @rse from their elbow.
Well if social services were to provide this very large mount of hours and resources to everyone in this fellow's situation we would all be paying a massive amount more council tax or other council services would lose a large slice of their budget to social services. You can't have it both ways, a Rolls Royce service costs Rolls Royce money. I am sure many people in social services would love to provide help to this level. The same probably applies to professionals in many other public services. Just listen to a midwife lamenting the gap between what they would like to do and what their situation compels them.

On the story itself, what a great effort, top guy Dan and a top team coming to Mr and Mrs Ford's assistance.
I suppose it makes a bit of a change from our counties officers being sacked for sex offences. Biggest bunch of tosssers. Literally.
[quote][p][bold]John the resonator[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Absolutely brilliant. However, this just shows up the crass uselessness of Social Services who have the worst reputation when it comes to getting the balance right. They interfere in the lives of decent, ordinary people and poke their noses in where it's not wanted but when it comes to helping people who are in genuine need , they are sadly lacking. I wish I had a pound for every story I have heard where Social Services were seriously lacking. I hope, if you are reading this and you are part of Social Services, that you hang your head in shame. I suppose this couple didn't tick all your boxes. And we all know which boxes you have to tick to get any help in this country nowadays. What the hell is going wrong? We have the Fire Service investigating arson, where the police should be doing it and now we have the police doing what Social Services should be doing. Hats off to all those who are helping this couple and yes, it does restore your faith in humanity but I think it's appalling that Social Services are yet again cocking a deaf un to genuine need. Absolutely appalling. Yet another bunch of incompetent lefties who just don't know their @rse from their elbow.[/p][/quote]Well if social services were to provide this very large mount of hours and resources to everyone in this fellow's situation we would all be paying a massive amount more council tax or other council services would lose a large slice of their budget to social services. You can't have it both ways, a Rolls Royce service costs Rolls Royce money. I am sure many people in social services would love to provide help to this level. The same probably applies to professionals in many other public services. Just listen to a midwife lamenting the gap between what they would like to do and what their situation compels them. On the story itself, what a great effort, top guy Dan and a top team coming to Mr and Mrs Ford's assistance.[/p][/quote]I suppose it makes a bit of a change from our counties officers being sacked for sex offences. Biggest bunch of tosssers. Literally. I Hate The Cops
  • Score: -9

7:09pm Tue 15 Jul 14

ORACUS says...

John the resonator wrote:
Kim Gandy wrote:
Absolutely brilliant. However, this just shows up the crass uselessness of Social Services who have the worst reputation when it comes to getting the balance right.

They interfere in the lives of decent, ordinary people and poke their noses in where it's not wanted but when it comes to helping people who are in genuine need , they are sadly lacking. I wish I had a pound for every story I have heard where Social Services were seriously lacking.

I hope, if you are reading this and you are part of Social Services, that you hang your head in shame. I suppose this couple didn't tick all your boxes. And we all know which boxes you have to tick to get any help in this country nowadays.

What the hell is going wrong? We have the Fire Service investigating arson, where the police should be doing it and now we have the police doing what Social Services should be doing.

Hats off to all those who are helping this couple and yes, it does restore your faith in humanity but I think it's appalling that Social Services are yet again cocking a deaf un to genuine need.

Absolutely appalling. Yet another bunch of incompetent lefties who just don't know their @rse from their elbow.
Well if social services were to provide this very large mount of hours and resources to everyone in this fellow's situation we would all be paying a massive amount more council tax or other council services would lose a large slice of their budget to social services. You can't have it both ways, a Rolls Royce service costs Rolls Royce money. I am sure many people in social services would love to provide help to this level. The same probably applies to professionals in many other public services. Just listen to a midwife lamenting the gap between what they would like to do and what their situation compels them.

On the story itself, what a great effort, top guy Dan and a top team coming to Mr and Mrs Ford's assistance.
If social services were to provide this very large mount of hours and resources to everyone in this fellow's situation they would save money compared to the cost of keeping someone in hospital.
[quote][p][bold]John the resonator[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Absolutely brilliant. However, this just shows up the crass uselessness of Social Services who have the worst reputation when it comes to getting the balance right. They interfere in the lives of decent, ordinary people and poke their noses in where it's not wanted but when it comes to helping people who are in genuine need , they are sadly lacking. I wish I had a pound for every story I have heard where Social Services were seriously lacking. I hope, if you are reading this and you are part of Social Services, that you hang your head in shame. I suppose this couple didn't tick all your boxes. And we all know which boxes you have to tick to get any help in this country nowadays. What the hell is going wrong? We have the Fire Service investigating arson, where the police should be doing it and now we have the police doing what Social Services should be doing. Hats off to all those who are helping this couple and yes, it does restore your faith in humanity but I think it's appalling that Social Services are yet again cocking a deaf un to genuine need. Absolutely appalling. Yet another bunch of incompetent lefties who just don't know their @rse from their elbow.[/p][/quote]Well if social services were to provide this very large mount of hours and resources to everyone in this fellow's situation we would all be paying a massive amount more council tax or other council services would lose a large slice of their budget to social services. You can't have it both ways, a Rolls Royce service costs Rolls Royce money. I am sure many people in social services would love to provide help to this level. The same probably applies to professionals in many other public services. Just listen to a midwife lamenting the gap between what they would like to do and what their situation compels them. On the story itself, what a great effort, top guy Dan and a top team coming to Mr and Mrs Ford's assistance.[/p][/quote]If social services were to provide this very large mount of hours and resources to everyone in this fellow's situation they would save money compared to the cost of keeping someone in hospital. ORACUS
  • Score: 1

9:15pm Tue 15 Jul 14

John the resonator says...

ORACUS wrote:
John the resonator wrote:
Kim Gandy wrote:
Absolutely brilliant. However, this just shows up the crass uselessness of Social Services who have the worst reputation when it comes to getting the balance right.

They interfere in the lives of decent, ordinary people and poke their noses in where it's not wanted but when it comes to helping people who are in genuine need , they are sadly lacking. I wish I had a pound for every story I have heard where Social Services were seriously lacking.

I hope, if you are reading this and you are part of Social Services, that you hang your head in shame. I suppose this couple didn't tick all your boxes. And we all know which boxes you have to tick to get any help in this country nowadays.

What the hell is going wrong? We have the Fire Service investigating arson, where the police should be doing it and now we have the police doing what Social Services should be doing.

Hats off to all those who are helping this couple and yes, it does restore your faith in humanity but I think it's appalling that Social Services are yet again cocking a deaf un to genuine need.

Absolutely appalling. Yet another bunch of incompetent lefties who just don't know their @rse from their elbow.
Well if social services were to provide this very large mount of hours and resources to everyone in this fellow's situation we would all be paying a massive amount more council tax or other council services would lose a large slice of their budget to social services. You can't have it both ways, a Rolls Royce service costs Rolls Royce money. I am sure many people in social services would love to provide help to this level. The same probably applies to professionals in many other public services. Just listen to a midwife lamenting the gap between what they would like to do and what their situation compels them.

On the story itself, what a great effort, top guy Dan and a top team coming to Mr and Mrs Ford's assistance.
If social services were to provide this very large mount of hours and resources to everyone in this fellow's situation they would save money compared to the cost of keeping someone in hospital.
I think many social workers would probably agree with you but their teams and resources are pretty well cut down to the bone and it simply would not be realistic to do such preventive work when there are probably a lot of people in an equal amount of need.

This is not about incompetence, left-wing politics or political correctness as has been suggested. Social service budgets are drawn up by their councils and the latter are under constant pressure from central government to cut expenditure. It would be pretty unpopular if there were a huge hike in council tax or there were less of the other services because more money has gone to social services.

That's the reality of it but I am sure many a social worker would love to go out there and prevent a crisis escalating. If only ...................
[quote][p][bold]ORACUS[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]John the resonator[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Absolutely brilliant. However, this just shows up the crass uselessness of Social Services who have the worst reputation when it comes to getting the balance right. They interfere in the lives of decent, ordinary people and poke their noses in where it's not wanted but when it comes to helping people who are in genuine need , they are sadly lacking. I wish I had a pound for every story I have heard where Social Services were seriously lacking. I hope, if you are reading this and you are part of Social Services, that you hang your head in shame. I suppose this couple didn't tick all your boxes. And we all know which boxes you have to tick to get any help in this country nowadays. What the hell is going wrong? We have the Fire Service investigating arson, where the police should be doing it and now we have the police doing what Social Services should be doing. Hats off to all those who are helping this couple and yes, it does restore your faith in humanity but I think it's appalling that Social Services are yet again cocking a deaf un to genuine need. Absolutely appalling. Yet another bunch of incompetent lefties who just don't know their @rse from their elbow.[/p][/quote]Well if social services were to provide this very large mount of hours and resources to everyone in this fellow's situation we would all be paying a massive amount more council tax or other council services would lose a large slice of their budget to social services. You can't have it both ways, a Rolls Royce service costs Rolls Royce money. I am sure many people in social services would love to provide help to this level. The same probably applies to professionals in many other public services. Just listen to a midwife lamenting the gap between what they would like to do and what their situation compels them. On the story itself, what a great effort, top guy Dan and a top team coming to Mr and Mrs Ford's assistance.[/p][/quote]If social services were to provide this very large mount of hours and resources to everyone in this fellow's situation they would save money compared to the cost of keeping someone in hospital.[/p][/quote]I think many social workers would probably agree with you but their teams and resources are pretty well cut down to the bone and it simply would not be realistic to do such preventive work when there are probably a lot of people in an equal amount of need. This is not about incompetence, left-wing politics or political correctness as has been suggested. Social service budgets are drawn up by their councils and the latter are under constant pressure from central government to cut expenditure. It would be pretty unpopular if there were a huge hike in council tax or there were less of the other services because more money has gone to social services. That's the reality of it but I am sure many a social worker would love to go out there and prevent a crisis escalating. If only ................... John the resonator
  • Score: 11

10:11pm Tue 15 Jul 14

ThisYear says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
Absolutely brilliant. However, this just shows up the crass uselessness of Social Services who have the worst reputation when it comes to getting the balance right.

They interfere in the lives of decent, ordinary people and poke their noses in where it's not wanted but when it comes to helping people who are in genuine need , they are sadly lacking. I wish I had a pound for every story I have heard where Social Services were seriously lacking.

I hope, if you are reading this and you are part of Social Services, that you hang your head in shame. I suppose this couple didn't tick all your boxes. And we all know which boxes you have to tick to get any help in this country nowadays.

What the hell is going wrong? We have the Fire Service investigating arson, where the police should be doing it and now we have the police doing what Social Services should be doing.

Hats off to all those who are helping this couple and yes, it does restore your faith in humanity but I think it's appalling that Social Services are yet again cocking a deaf un to genuine need.

Absolutely appalling. Yet another bunch of incompetent lefties who just don't know their @rse from their elbow.
Gandy you deranged article...you take every feel good story and derail and spoil it with your political rants...get a grip you idiot.
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Absolutely brilliant. However, this just shows up the crass uselessness of Social Services who have the worst reputation when it comes to getting the balance right. They interfere in the lives of decent, ordinary people and poke their noses in where it's not wanted but when it comes to helping people who are in genuine need , they are sadly lacking. I wish I had a pound for every story I have heard where Social Services were seriously lacking. I hope, if you are reading this and you are part of Social Services, that you hang your head in shame. I suppose this couple didn't tick all your boxes. And we all know which boxes you have to tick to get any help in this country nowadays. What the hell is going wrong? We have the Fire Service investigating arson, where the police should be doing it and now we have the police doing what Social Services should be doing. Hats off to all those who are helping this couple and yes, it does restore your faith in humanity but I think it's appalling that Social Services are yet again cocking a deaf un to genuine need. Absolutely appalling. Yet another bunch of incompetent lefties who just don't know their @rse from their elbow.[/p][/quote]Gandy you deranged article...you take every feel good story and derail and spoil it with your political rants...get a grip you idiot. ThisYear
  • Score: 7

8:52am Fri 18 Jul 14

kyprman says...

Thanks for shi**ing over a really positive story about communities coming together with your usual brand of point scoring Ms Gandy.
Thanks for shi**ing over a really positive story about communities coming together with your usual brand of point scoring Ms Gandy. kyprman
  • Score: 2

4:08pm Fri 18 Jul 14

pussycats says...

I wan't going to comment on this post, as most people had said ...all that I could only copy and agree with. Kim Gandy......A lot of the time, I agree with your direct comments re the Echo's stories. You are obviously a very caring individual and your heart is in the right place........but PLEASE curb it a bit....You're not doing yourself any favours.

Much admiration to this guy Dan, but why should he be an exception? I bet so many of the people on this Echo site. have money, time and the resources, to get off their backsides and help family, friends and neighbours.....Then we could have many Dan's. Wouldn't that be a story?
I wan't going to comment on this post, as most people had said ...all that I could only copy and agree with. Kim Gandy......A lot of the time, I agree with your direct comments re the Echo's stories. You are obviously a very caring individual and your heart is in the right place........but PLEASE curb it a bit....You're not doing yourself any favours. Much admiration to this guy Dan, but why should he be an exception? I bet so many of the people on this Echo site. have money, time and the resources, to get off their backsides and help family, friends and neighbours.....Then we could have many Dan's. Wouldn't that be a story? pussycats
  • Score: 4

8:49am Mon 21 Jul 14

Proud mum 25 says...

I have just searched on line for this story as Dan is my son. I read it with great pride and I know that when he stepped up to appeal to his colleagues, friends and family it was with good hearted intentions. Following this story he met with the social service and hospital teams who arranged to assess the needs of both Mr and Mrs Ford.
This story and Dans decision to step up and try and help was not born from politics, the need to slaughter another organisation or to gain any kind of personal credit, it was good old fashioned caring about another human being who was in need. Please do not sully this with your own ferocious politics or rants. See it for what it is and smile :-)
I have just searched on line for this story as Dan is my son. I read it with great pride and I know that when he stepped up to appeal to his colleagues, friends and family it was with good hearted intentions. Following this story he met with the social service and hospital teams who arranged to assess the needs of both Mr and Mrs Ford. This story and Dans decision to step up and try and help was not born from politics, the need to slaughter another organisation or to gain any kind of personal credit, it was good old fashioned caring about another human being who was in need. Please do not sully this with your own ferocious politics or rants. See it for what it is and smile :-) Proud mum 25
  • Score: 5

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree