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DIY SOS: The Build begins to transform a family’s home

BBC show DIY SOS: The Big Build, filming at Sowerby Bridge.
Presenter Nick Knowles (centre) with the family whose home will be transformed, from the left, Michelle Martina, Danielle Martina, 12, Michael Hopkins and Joshua Martina-Hopkins, eight.

BBC show DIY SOS: The Big Build, filming at Sowerby Bridge. Presenter Nick Knowles (centre) with the family whose home will be transformed, from the left, Michelle Martina, Danielle Martina, 12, Michael Hopkins and Joshua Martina-Hopkins, eight.

BBC TV show DIY SOS: The Big Build has swooped into town this week to start transforming the house - and lives - of a Sowerby Bridge family.

The programme’s familiar faces have been joined by kind-hearted trades people from across Calderdale and beyond to begin work at the home of the Martina-Hopkins family.

Little Joshua Martina-Hopkins, now eight, needs round-the clock support after a sickness bug when he was one left him brain damaged.

The family had been fund-raising to adapt their home to cope with Josh’s future needs - but now DIY SOS: The Big Build has stepped in to help.

Exactly what is planned remains a mystery but on Monday morning scores of local traders drove into the cul-de-sac of Low Laithes to offer their time and support over the two-week project.

Mum Michelle Martina said she was amazed to learn the show was coming, after her mum sent in an application on behalf of the family - which includes dad Michael Hopkins and Josh’s sister Danielle, 12, a pupil at Ryburn Valley High School.

Michelle said: “I didn’t think it would happen. The whole thing is surreal. It feels like a dream - what they’re doing is amazing.

“We don’t have a clue what’s happening. We’ve just had to clear the house out and that’s it. I’m nervous and excited.

“It’s been amazing seeing all these people who’ve come out to help. Without their help it just wouldn’t be happening.

“Josh has had a tough couple of years. He’s had six operations - some successful, some not. We’ve spent so much time at hospital. Danielle’s spent so much time living at her aunts.

“We set up a trust to raise money for the house but realistically it was going to take a good few years. I can’t believe it’s actually happening. For once something good’s happening for Josh and Danielle.”

Dad Michael added: “We’re going to be able to keep Josh in the home for the future. We don’t know what the future is but we can just future proof the house for Josh to keep him at home for the foreseeable future.”

TV personality Nick Knowles, who presents the show, said he can’t stress enough how great the support from local traders are on the programme.

“I’m continually amazed by the level of support we get from traders, in what are really difficult economic times.

“Some people are here for up to nine days, for no money - local heroes who have turned out to make a difference. We have the opportunity here to change how a family lives.”

He said for families which have a child with disabilities the house can often become the “enemy of the family” - because of changing needs.

“This is wrong because your home should be your haven. But it becomes your enemy in the process of trying to get by.

“Grants are never enough to cover the work that needs doing. There’s been some fund-raising here by the local community but that doesn’t cover the cost.

“Because of the generosity of these tradesmen, it will make the house better for for Josh, better also for Danielle, who is part sister, part carer. It can keep the family together - which is the key thing.”

The BAFTA award-winning programme has been running for 13 years and is the BBC’s flagship DIY show.

Nick said: “I have the best job in the world. We go on to make 150 new friends every time and I get to prove that working class people are hard-working, honest, genuine people. I’m working class - I grew up on a council estate in London. It’s often the most disadvantaged people that come out to give their time. People who can do more, don’t. People who don’t have very much to give, give a lot.”

 

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