Paralympic hero David Weir is being refused a home with a downstairs toilet and is forced to drag himself up the stairs when he needs the loo, it emerged today. The six-time gold medallist’s family have called the situation a national disgrace and said he is being treated like a ‘jailbird or a junkie’.
Despite being one of Britain’s greatest athletes, the 34-year-old lives in a modest semi-detached council house on the Roundshaw Estate in Wallington, south London, the area he grew up in.
But its layout means David, who was born with a severed spinal cord and cannot use his legs, risks injury every day because he must claw his way upstairs to go to the loo.
‘He’s a national hero but he can’t find a decent house and the council aren’t helping,’
his mother Jacqueline told The Sun.
‘He’s simply too good to have a nice house. He’s not a jailbird or a junkie so as far as they’re concerned he just has to make do with what he’s got.’
David, nicknamed the Weirwolf, won four golds at London 2012 in the T54 category 800m, 1500m, 5000m and marathon to add to his two golds at Beijing in 2008.
In addition, he has won six golds at the Athletics World Championships and six London Marathons.
Weir was bestowed a CBE in the New Year’s Honours this year. He was also made a Freeman of the City of London after the Paralympics, and the local leisure centre is named after him.
As with all Olympic and Paralympic gold medallists, the nearest postbox to his home was painted gold in his honour.
He lives in the small house with his fiancee Emily Thorne, and their two children Mason, two, and baby Tillie. His other daughter Ronie, 10, also stays regularly and the family have spoken to their housing association about getting a larger home.
But Ms Thorne claims that Roundshaw Homes are refusing to help in case they look like they are giving a Paralympian special treatment.
‘We are not asking for a mansion, we just want somewhere with three bedrooms and a downstairs toilet,’ she said.
‘With David getting a bit older he could do without the trips up the stairs on his arms, risking a recurring shoulder injury.’
Roundshaw Homes said it would not comment on individual cases but appeared to be close to changing its mind about Mr Weir’s home.
‘We continue to actively liaise with Mr Weir to address his housing needs in terms of the size of his home and appropriate adaptations,’ a spokesman said.
Neighbours rallied round the star today.
Weir’s neighbour Stella Davies, 34, said: ‘It looks to me like they have now done a big U-turn.
‘It was a disgrace that they didn’t do it in the first place. The whole country supported him in the Olympics yet they won’t give him a decent house. It is disgusting.’
Another neighbour Daniel Smith, 56, said: ‘Everyone knows him around here. He is a bloody hero and this is what they do to him. They do the same thing to soldiers.
‘They give all this help to people who don’t deserve it and when it comes to a guy like him, they won’t help. What is wrong with this country?’