Tissues at the ready for ‘DIY SOS: The Big Build’

Beat the winter blues with this edition of the renovation show which was filmed in scorching temperatures in the August of 2019.
The Big Build in BarnstapleThe Big Build in Barnstaple
The Big Build in Barnstaple

This means it also features the welcome (and now slightly alien) sight of large groups of people working in close proximity, without a mask in sight (unless required for the operation of power tools of course).

The real joy, though, comes not from the glimpses of sunshine or a look at the crowds, but the heartwarming story as it unfolds.

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Nick Knowles and the team are in Barnstaple in Devon, where they meet Jan and Lucy, parents to triplets.

Two of the youngsters – Daisy and Amber – are living with an incurable kidney disease which means they have to travel to Bristol, a four-hour round-trip, four days a week, every week, for dialysis.

It’s a whopping part of their lives spent travelling, so Nick wants to help extend their home to create space for a dialysis centre.

Being able to receive treatment at home would truly be life-changing for the girls and the family as a whole, and so work commences on adapting their old garage and giving it over to a dedicated treatment space.

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Interior design maestro Laurence Llewelyn Bowen also pops in to help out the family, ensuring that their newly revamped home is not only functional but also fully fabulous.

And as usual a makeshift army of volunteers from the local community do the heavy lifting.

Dad Jan broke down in tears when the transformation was revealed.

He told the team: “I’ve never been so lost for words in all my life.

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“What you guys have achieved here in just a few days is absolutely breathtaking”.

A vast number of tradespeople, from builders, plumbers, electricians, joiners and scaffolders to skip hire companies, tilers and decorators – over 100 people in total – all volunteered both their time and resources to make it happen.

“Two local food supply firms even turned up and kept the workforce well-stocked with ice creams and cold drinks while they worked, in a bid to keep the heat at bay.

To see the looks on the family’s faces, it was all worth it – and then some more.

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No longer do the girls have to spend what must feel like half a lifetime in traffic on the M5 just to get the life-saving treatment Daisy and Amber need, but they also now get to undergo the process in the safe surroundings of their own home.

It must also feel wonderful to be a part of a community who care so deeply.

“I live a stone’s throw away from the customers and know Lucy and Jan well,” says Sam, an electrician who pitched in to offer his labour and expertise.

“It’s really sad about the girls and I just wanted to help really.”

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So grab the tissues as this one, as always, is going to be a tear-jerker.

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