It stands as a monument to the determination of a remarkable woman not to be beaten by a deadly illness.
Dianne Freeth has moved in to a brand new, self-designed house – nine months after being given just six months to live.
The 56-year-old surveyed the sparkling, freshly-painted £115,000 property and declared with huge understatement: “I like
a challenge and am really proud to have successfully completed this one.”
Non-smoking widow Dianne spent years thinking about building the house in the garden of her family home in Coven but the long-held dream suddenly turned into a race against time after it was revealed she had terminal lung cancer in February.
Plans for the project that started last September were quickly finalised, planning permission acquired and the building work started at the end of May. And now, she is settling in to the new home.
Dianne explained: “Initially there seemed to be all the time in the world, but things were drastically speeded up after I got the dreaded news that I had six months to live.
“People kept saying ‘why are you doing it?’ and calling it a waste of money but I was determined to complete the project, even if I only lived in it for a day.
“The last few weeks have been absolutely frantic. It was terribly stressful even though I only moved to the bottom of the garden but it has been well worthwhile.
“The house is absolutely fantastic. It has given me a sense of self-worth again and made me more determined not to sit around and let the cancer beat me.
“It is my home and hopefully it will be for some time to come.
“Then it will be an investment for my son. He will not sell it but use it as a rental.
“I have always had that idea at the back of my mind and have furnished the place accordingly. I have got a middle range cooker and fridge whereas in different circumstances I would have have had things
that would have been more expensive and lasted longer.
“I have designed it with a wet room and study downstairs that could be turned into a bathroom and bedroom if I start getting poorly and cannot get up the stairs.
“I would have a loved a big oak table but £1,000 was too much to spend on a beautiful piece of furniture like that which could so easily have been damaged if not looked after properly when the house became a rental.
“So I went to Ikea instead and have been delighted with the result.”
Dianne sipped coffee from a mug with the slogan Happy Camper emblazoned on it while proudly showing off the attractive house that is 22 metres from the family home now occupied by her son Stuart, 23.
She explained: “I am a very robust person. I have been told off for putting up a front and keeping things away in a box but that is the way I am.
“I aim to keep proving the doctors wrong. I like challenges in life.”
Dianne marked the passing of the six month medical deadline in August with a 250-mile bike ride from Cardiff Castle to Caernarfon Castle the following month.
She made the week-long journey with nine other people including her sister-in-law Hermione that raised £13,000 – £3,500 of which was collected by her – for the
Odyssey cancer charity, whose support has played a vital role in developing her positive approach to the disease.
“I did not even have a bike when I decided to take part and had seldom cycled further than the end of the road in my road but I did it.
“We were doing up to 40 miles a day and some of the hills were really steep.
"The slower I went the wobblier I got but I could ride properly by the fourth day. I even got the polka dot jersey for Queen of the Hills, like the King of the Mountains in the Tour
Dianne is now making plans to organise a fund-raising ride on a static bike during which she and a team would cover the equivalent mileage of the journey from
Lands End to John O’Groats. She would use it to raise money for Compton Hospice where she plans to spend her final days.
In the meantime her main problem is the small back garden of her home.
She said: “I have run out of money, so wouldn’t it be lovely if some fairies came along and helped fix it with a few slabs and a little lawn?”