From the Romford Recorder, 21 May 2010 (pictured: Debbie Deboo and Kelly-Marie Stewart)
A DISABLED designer who has made it her mission to turn crutches into glamorous accessories has had her first celebrity customer.
Hollyoaks actress Kelly-Marie Stewart, who plays Hayley Ramsay in the Channel 4 soap, contacted Havering's creator of Glamsticks, Debbie Deboo, in desperate need of a sophisticated and glamorous pair of crutches to suit the stunning black dress she was wearing for the red-carpet Soap Awards, held in London on May 8.
The pretty blonde, 24, lost the use of her legs to the debilitating illness Guillain-Barré syndrome three years ago.
ME sufferer Debbie, 42 – who launched her not-for-profit service turning walking aids into attractive and stylish supports at the end of last year – said that when she first received Kelly-Marie's email inquiring about getting some Glamsticks she thought it was a hoax, but she asked her to call and had a chat with the actress about her order on the phone.
Debbie, of Charlotte Gardens, Collier Row, said: “She said she wanted to walk rather than be in her wheelchair because she wanted to show off her dress. But she only had her normal grey ones and didn't want to look dull.”
Kelly-Marie saw a pair on Debbie's website –www.glamsticks.co.uk – called Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend and got her to make them in just three days.
Debbie made the £250 Glamsticks using a pair of black crutches coated in Swarovski crystals, rather than the usual rhinestones, round the middle and hand delivered them to the Liverpudlian star's London hotel when she arrived on the morning of the event.
Debbie said: “It's the quickest turnaround I've had. She's the first celebrity I've met. She was really lovely. She had a box of chocolates for me and we had a chat.”
Debbie was inspired to start-up Glamsticks after discovering she would be on crutches or in a wheelchair for the rest of her life due to her chronic fatigue illness which she has had for five years.
Her decorative walking sticks and crutches have been building up a cult following since, with orders averaging at least one a week, and she has a page on Facebook which has 284 fans.
Currently Debbie only charges costs to make her designer mobility aids and sees it as a form of therapy, but said she would consider turning it into a business in the future.
Her next venture is to introduce a range of sticks for men based on football colours.
Glamsticks is also set to feature at the Disabled and Sexy charity fashion show in Notting Hill on October 25.