‘Things like this don’t happen to people like me’ – mum’s DIY SOS joy

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A mum beamed from ear to ear as she saw for the first time the results of a ten-day project by TV’s DIY SOS team and scores of local tradesman to transform her home for her disabled daughter.

Paula Read said she was “absolutely blown away” by the changes to her Weston Hills bungalow to allow her eight-year-old daughter Dakota to move around.

Lachan Read and her sister Dakota. Photo: Nikki Griffin

Lachan Read and her sister Dakota. Photo: Nikki Griffin

The youngster, who has quadriplegic dystonic cerebral palsy is not able to walk or talk – but doctors have told Paula that her life expectancy will be greatly improved if she is more mobile.

But space at their home in Broadgate was limited, with Dakota’s brother Jake sleeping in a shed to provide more space for his little sister.

And that’s where DIY SOS came in – roping in local tradesmen to transform the bungalow for the whole family.

The big “reveal” of the culmination of hours of hard work by builders, plasterers, decorators, tilers to name a few, took place as the cameras rolled on Thursday.

After looking round the remodelled interior – which producers want to keep under wraps until the programme airs later this year – the family stepped outside to a huge round of applause to meet those who had made it possible.

Addressing them Paula said: “You have given Dakota the one thing I have been unable to – space to move around. I can’t thank you enough.”

Speaking afterwards, Paula said: “I don’t think it is going to sink in for a while. It is absolutely amazing and it just doesn’t seem real.

“Things like this don’t happen to people like me, or families like mine.

“We now have a tracking hoist which means it will be easier for Dakota to move around.

“She is totally overwhelmed by it all but she has definitely given her approval.

“What everyone has done here is amazing, I can’t thank them all enough. They are all amazing.”

DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles addressed the crowd of tradesmen who had helped make a dream into reality for Dakota and her family, praising them for giving their time and effort to help such a deserving family.

DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles. Photo: Nikki Griffin

DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles. Photo: Nikki Griffin

He spoke of the camaraderie which had developed among those working on the project.

Afterwards he said: “There was a brilliant turn-out by tradesmen and the whole community.

“We often hear that there is no real sense of community left anymore, but wherever we go we get people come out and help.

“This past ten days we have been working in temperatures down to -8C, and that was inside the house, but people still worked through.

“There has been a great vibe on site.

“We have brought about a great change for this family.

“It has been a great thing to be part of.”

One of the tradesmen who lent a hand was Shaun Maddison, of Holbeach-based SM Painting and Decorating, who said he had put in 50 hours’ work over four days, but it had been well worthwhile.

He said: “It’s been amazing. It’s been long hours and a lot of clambering over each other but it has been fantastic and a great experience. To see the end result and the family’s reaction is gobsmacking.”

Steve Kent, of Kirton-based SM Kent Roofing and General Building, added: “It has been brilliant, a great craic.

“It has been great to help a good local case, and a justified cause.

“The DIY SOS team are brilliant and we have had a lot of fun. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to be involved.”

David Ginnety, of Holbeach Home Maintenance, helped with the tiling. He is also a firefighter and handed Dakota a teddy bear and bumper bag full of goodies donated by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue.

He said: “It has been a bit of a nightmare at times, but it has been great.”

Bob Pontin, of S and R Facilities Management, and his team were involved in the foundation work needed for Dakota’s remodelled home.

He said: “We were here at the very start before the rest of the team arrived to get the initial work done.

“We were really up against the elements but it has been very enjoyable and worthwhile.

“My son has one or two problems so I know what this lady is up against.

“It has been good to be here today to see how it all turned out.”

South Holland District Council building inspector Clinton Bell, who has inspected the work along the way, said: “It has all gone very well considering how many people have been on site.

“It has been nice to be involved.”