WHAT can someone with a disability do if they need specially-adapted cutlery that does not exist anywhere in the world?

Answer: they go to Remap Oxfordshire.

This entirely volunteer group of craftsmen and women has been creating custom cutlery, vehicles, tools and devices for people with disabilities in Oxfordshire since 1976.

In October they celebrated their 40th anniversary by inviting some of their clients to unique birthday party.

Among the guests was Hazel Coleman, whose life was transformed when Remap volunteer Graham Stabler made her a custom-made cutlery holder out of steel flesh tunnels – normally used as ear piercings.

Mrs Coleman has been disabled since she was struck with Polio growing up in London.

She lost most of the use of her left hand but was still able to use one finger, and became so dexterous with it that she was able to hold cutlery and feed herself.

Then in her 50s she was stuck with post-Polio syndrome, a relapse in symptoms, and lost the use of her finger overnight.

She looked everywhere for a solution and tried specialist cutlery available on the market, but nothing worked quite right.

Then she contacted Remap.

She recalled: "They sent Graham who is an absolute wunderkind: he's got the kind of brain that makes connections where you just wouldn't normally see them.

"I wanted a device that would look elegant enough to eat out at a restaurant with, would fit in my handbag and would work perfectly: the engineering had to be just right.

"The really inventive thing he did was to find rings that fit my fingers perfectly, and he used these flesh tunnels, but it looks like a beautiful piece of jewellery which is exactly what I wanted.

"It really was life-changing. Remap is a wonderful group and it's just a shame more people haven't heard of them."

Another client who joined the 40th birthday party was John Hunt, of Oxford.

Mr Hunt either uses crutches or a trolley to help him get around, but he found normal wooden trolleys would not support his weight.

He asked Remap and one of their members – Harry Thomson, of Blewbury – fashioned him an extra-sturdy metal trolley.

Other recent projects by the Oxfordshire panel include a bike for a child who could not find one small enough and a device enabling a man to take his jacket off without the help of his carers.

To date, the Oxfordshire and Thames Valley panel have been involved with a total of 1,340 projects.

They have just two rules:

1. No one is ever charged for the work done.

2. Nothing can be made by Remap if it is commercially available.

Remap Oxfordshire is part of the national Remap charity established in 1964.

Today there are about 80 panels across England with more than 1,000 volunteer engineers, inventors, craftsmen and therapists.

To find out if Remap could help you, contact Philippa Lee on 07751251602, Chris Hunt on 01865-773123 or email remap.oxon@gmail.com.