Grand opening for Joey holiday accomodation

A GRAND opening is planned for disabled holiday accommodation at Braddan Bridge which organisers hope will be nearing completion by TT fortnight.

The official opening of Braddan Bridge House by the Jubilee Oak is set for Mad Sunday afternoon on June 6 and will be attended by 15-times TT winner John McGuinness and 26-times winner Joey Dunlop's widow Linda.

An exhibition of the TT trophy collection will be staged on the day on the ground floor of the house and there is to be a barbecue which organisers hope can be attended by television chefs the Hairy Bikers.

The house represents the culmination of nine years' work by the Joey Dunlop Foundation and its opening this year coincides with the 10th anniversary of Joey's death at a road race in Estonia in July 2000.

Originally acquiring land for the project next door to the old prison in Victoria Road, Douglas, foundation members had a change of plan, deciding instead to convert the better-placed property at Braddan.

Work started in earnest last November to create two flats on the ground floor and a third one on the first floor. Each has between one and three bedrooms, a kitchen and living room area and a wet room.

The conversion has been a mammoth task involving building new interior walls, fitting disabled facilities, creating a lift shaft and installing a lift. A newly-built balcony at first floor level offers a spectacular view overlooking the TT course as it sweeps into the left-right S-bend at Braddan Bridge.

JDF committee member Andy Scullard, himself a sufferer of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, has worked on the conversion project around the clock since November 1.

“I was even here on Christmas Day,” he said. “I took one day off on March 3 because it was the day after my birthday and, apart from that, I've had two half days off, otherwise it has been seven days a week.

“At least it will be ready now when I need it as a retirement home!”

JDF chairman Kevin Quirk added: “Without Andy's support and commitment free of charge we could not have been ready in time.”

He said it was gratifying to be on the verge of completing the project after so long and so much effort.

“When we started the JDF in 2001 we thought the finish date would be 2007, in time for the centenary TT races, but we have had a few setbacks along the way.”

Meanwhile, fundraising will continue by the charity which still needs to complete the work, furnish the house and pave the forecourt.

“Equipment inside the house is costly and we have been told it will cost 12,000 to re-surface the forecourt,” Mr Quirk added.

This year the foundation will again be raising money by selling prize draw tickets to win a Honda CBR600RR supplied by Padget's motorcycles. The draw will be made at the charity's annual dinner in November.

Mr Quirk thanked all the tradesmen, suppliers, helpers and supporters of the project as it approaches completion and invited anyone passing to call in and see for themselves the transformation that has been achieved. He also thanked Middle MHK Martyn Quayle for his support initially through the Rushen Round Table at the start of the project.

Although the house is unlikely to be finished in time to receive visitors for TT, the foundation members hope the first guests can be welcomed to the house in July.

They also wish to emphasise the accommodation is open to all disabled visitors and is not just restricted to injured riders. The foundation hopes to organise a commemorative lap of the TT course on July 2 to mark the 10th anniversary of Joey's death.

Details have yet to be finalised but anyone interested should see the JDF website at