Paralysed Blofield man hosts Come Dine With Me with the help of robotic exoskeleton suit
PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 January 2017 | UPDATED: 14:35 31 January 2017
For the first time in three years Simon Kindleysides was able to stand unaided in his own kitchen for TV show Come Dine With Me, as DOMINIC GILBERT reports.
When the hit Channel 4 dinner party reality show recruited in Norwich and Lowestoft, singer Simon Kindleysides grabbed the opportunity to perform.
After experiencing some weakness in his left leg in April 2013, Mr Kindleysides was diagnosed with a glioma brain tumour and functional neurological disorder.
He soon lost the use of both legs and is now paralysed from the waist down.
But after reaching out to the Rex bionic suit company, the 32-year-old was able to cook a three-course meal in his own home with the use of an exoskeleton suit.
Costing in the region of £95,000, the suit is one of only two in the UK, and was lent to Mr Kindleysides at his Blofield home during the filming of the Lowestoft episode, due to be shown this evening.
Mr Kindleysides models the Rex suit and as the company had never seen it being used during cooking before, they allowed him to step into it for the day.
“You transfer into it and using the joystick myself I can stand up, walk backwards and sideways, and shuffle around,” he said.
“It is really a physio machine -you can’t use it to walk down the shops but it is designed to help you around the household. This was such a great opportunity, and it is the first time since I was paralysed three years ago I have been able to stand up in my kitchen.
“Once they saw me standing up they were blown away by it.”
Mr Kindleysides took the opportunity to sing for his entertainment, as part of his group Harmony Duo alongside Ricky Martin. “Going on the show does open up your vulnerability,” he said. “They have over 500,000 viewers tune in. That is a lot of people and you are putting yourself out there.
“Just to be able to stand up while cooking - it was a dream come true.
“When you are in a wheelchair you are limited to what you can do. I was a dancer as well as a singer and when that got taken away from me I was very upset about it. The other contestants knew I was a singer so they probably had an idea I was going to perform on the night.”
The episode of Come Dine With Me is set to air this evening at 5pm on Channel 4.