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Man's mission to clean road signs to help others

Michael Read who is cleaning road signs for 24 hours to raise money to help him continue with his work.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018

Michael Read who is cleaning road signs for 24 hours to raise money to help him continue with his work. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Archant 2017

For the past two years Michael Read has given up his time and money to clean more than 800 road signs and make them visible to pedestrians and drivers.

Michael Read who is cleaning road signs for 24 hours to raise money to help him continue with his work.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Michael Read who is cleaning road signs for 24 hours to raise money to help him continue with his work. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Severely disabled due to a rare genetic bone disease, the 54-year-old travels across Norfolk and Suffolk armed with water and an extendable mop he can use from his wheelchair or the floor.

Mr Read, known as Buck, started cutting hedges in his village of Stanton which were blocking pathways for fellow wheelchair users and parents with buggies.

He moved on to cleaning signs and is now hoping to expand his voluntary venture, Now You See It, to help the wider community.

In 2006 he had his left leg amputated below the knee, three years later the same happened to his right leg and in 2011 more of the leg was removed.

Michael Read who is cleaning road signs for 24 hours to raise money to help him continue with his work.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Michael Read who is cleaning road signs for 24 hours to raise money to help him continue with his work. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

The fingers on both hands are half their normal size and doctors have warned he may lose his hands within the next few years.

“I do it to do something rather than not doing anything,” said Mr Read. “I have got the energy to do something for people instead of just sitting down.

“It shows what can be done no matter how disabled you are.”

A former alcoholic who was once homeless, Mr Read said he would eventually like to expand Now You See It to become a business to help others.

Michael Read who is cleaning road signs for 24 hours to raise money to help him continue with his work.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Michael Read who is cleaning road signs for 24 hours to raise money to help him continue with his work. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

He said: “I have friends who feel they are not worth anything because they are on the streets but I ask them to come out and help for the day.

“I cannot give them cash but I can guarantee them a meal and a day out. I was homeless and a former alcoholic and I have sorted myself out.

“I would like to see if I could eventually make something of it for me and others.”

To raise money to pay for petrol and cleaning materials Mr Read is holding a sign cleaning challenge in Thetford, Diss and the Ipswich area.

Michael Read who is cleaning road signs for 24 hours to raise money to help him continue with his work.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Michael Read who is cleaning road signs for 24 hours to raise money to help him continue with his work. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Along with his carer Mandy Mortimer and three volunteers, the aim is to clean 40 signs in 12 hours each day.

Signs will be cleaned in Thetford and Thetford on Saturday and Needham Market and Ipswich on Sunday.

So far £500 of a £2,000 target has been raised.

“He has done amazing stuff,” said Mrs Mortimer. “If he can do it then anyone can.”

To sponsor Mr Read visit Just Giving and to view more of what he does visit Michael Read (Nowyouseeit) on Facebook.

To suggest a sign which needs cleaning email him at nowyouseeitagain2018@hotmail.com

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