A TV presenter has paid tribute to an inspirational Calderdale family after the death of a battling youngster who was featured in his programme.
Brave Josh Martina-Hopkins who was left brain-damaged by a virus when he was a baby has died after a battle with pneumonia.
The nine-year-old school boy was able to spend his final months at his Low Laithes home in Sowerby Bridge which last year was transformed for him by popular TV show DIY SOS. Presenter Nick Knowles
this week paid tribute to family and said: “The boys have asked me to extend their deepest sympathies and love to the family.
“They were such an inspiration to us and all who worked on the project. We are proud of the trades and suppliers who worked so hard and so generously, which enabled Josh to spend his last months at home with his loving family, rather than in a hospital ward.”
Dozens of skilled craftsmen and women from local companies descended on the home to help the family for the episode which is still to be broadcast.
Josh’s devastated mum Michelle Martina paid tribute to her “smiling” boy and thanked all those who worked on the house who allowed Josh to be at home for when he died.
She said: “He fought long and hard right until the end. It meant the world to us that he was at home. He was happier there. We were only able to take him because of what DIY SOS did to our house.”
The youngster, who went to Wood Bank School, Luddenden, had needed round-the-clock care since the sickness bug left him brain-damaged at 13-months-old.
Josh had been in and out of hospital throughout his life and his latest battle with pneumonia began in November.
His family - which includes dad Michael Hopkins and Josh’s 13-year-old sister Danielle - were told in February that there was nothing more which could be done for him.
Mrs Martina said: “We just tried to make the most of it, making memories – and lots of cuddles”
“He’s not suffering any more, that’s what we have to try and remember.”
She said: “He was a cheeky monkey, with a beautiful smile. He smiled through his eyes as well.”
As well as all those who worked on DIY SOS, Mrs Martina also thanked all the health professionals who supported the family and cared for Josh throughout his life - including Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice, where the family are currently staying.
Josh’s funeral took place today (Wednesday) at Park Wood Crematorium in Elland followed by a gathering at The Works pub in Sowerby Bridge.