TWO weeks ago, the Wiltshire Times told you of the desperation loving mum Amanda Powell feels, eight months in to the coronavirus pandemic, during which she has cared 24/7, seven days a week, for her severely disabled son Benjamin without any respite care.

“All I want is a little break,” said Amanda, 55. We knew her plight would touch the hearts of Times readers, and soon had proof of how kind and loving they are.

A letter arrived at our office in Trowbridge, posted locally, containing five crisp new £20 notes, with a message saying: ‘A small gift for Mrs Amanda Powell and Benjamin. Please forward to them, thank you’ and signed simply Wellwishers.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Ms Powell said when we rang to tell her.

“That is so kind. I didn’t want to be in the paper for this, I wanted to let people know how badly people in my situation are being treated and how hard it is.”

Her first thought was how was she to thank these anonymous people, so when we called at her Glebe Road home with the money, she asked us to print this on her behalf.

“I would like to send a massive thank you to the anonymous donor who has sent Benjamin and myself this very generous gift.

“Your kindness is very much appreciated and will be put to good use towards a break away.

"If I knew who you were I’d be shaking your hand. You have no idea the difference this will make for us both.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the other people that have been so supportive these past months.

“You all know who you are, including Benjamin’s carers, mainly Kerry, Lana, Lorna and Nicola, who have all kept me sane this year.

“Thank you, Benjamin and Amanda Powell.”

Benjamin lives with his mum and his younger sister in a four-bedroomed home which has been specially adapted for his needs.

He has severe learning difficulties and needs constant 24/7 care, 365 days a year, which means Amanda rarely gets a break unless he or she goes away as part of the respite care package which was axed when the coronavirus lockdown was imposed in March. It has never been restored.

Ms Powell said: “He doesn’t speak, he has to have all his personal care done for him as well as be fed and he’s doubly incontinent and can be quite challenging at times.”

Carers spend five hours a day at the family home, and the rest of the time Ms Powell and her family look after Benjamin.

Ms Powell has been fighting Wiltshire CCG to get a respite break, and was recently told that although one had been agreed, now there were no funds to pay for it - caring for Benjamin alone costs £1,500 a week because of the cost of paying his carers.

“I just want to be able to go somewhere like Weymouth for a week, and Benjamin could stay here with carers or go away for a week with them.

"He has been trapped in here and I need a rest.”