Express & Star

DIY SOS in West Bromwich: Many hands help make light work

Skips being delivered, diggers lifting mounds of earth, carpenters sawing up wood with electricians and plasterers darting in and out of the house - this was the scene of DIY SOS latest project.

The crew outside the house in West Bromwich where DIY SOS is getting to work

The house, based in West Bromwich, is undergoing a massive transformation, with 61 people at work at the site on Saturday.

Tradersmen, tea girls, sparkies and chippies all arrived by 7.30am, with a barrage of lorries bringing skips and building materials ploughing through to provide supplies.

The team worked solidly through the day, as the transformation reached it half way point. The building work will end on Wednesday night with decorators completing the finishing touches and handing over the keys to the family on Thursday evening.

It hasn't all been plain sailing however, with the weather putting a dampener on the brick works being carried out.

Building manager at the site, TV's Mark Millar, said: "The weather has been a challenge. We're more delayed than I would like to be at this point but hopefully now the sun is out we can pick up the pace and make up the time."

The works were entering their second phase, with electricians being drafted in to rewire the entire house. Plasters were also at work to ensure all the newly-plastered walls were dry.

Mark continued: "What has been astounding with this job is the positivity and community spirit of all the people here.

"This is such a tiny house to work in but everyone has mucked in together and will make sure this family gets the house they deserve."

The family, which includes Deago, aged 9, and Ameira, aged 3, were totally distraught when their mother, Crystal Chambers, aged 32, was given only two days to live in September 2015.

Crystal had visited her GP and hospital on several occasions over two years but was only diagnosed with terminal cancer in September 2015, when doctors said she only had two days to live.

Tragically, the mother of two died on October 14 2015.

As Crystal did not have any life insurance, or own her own house, her children were left homeless.

Crystal’s grieving mother, Sandra, aged 51, therefore took the children under her wings and into her home which she already shared with Crystal's 19-year-old brother, Ziggy.

Sandra, Deago and Ameira currently share one small bedroom, with a double bed, a camp bed and a toddler bed squeezed at the side.

Many of the volunteers were touched by the family's story. Tea girls Sara Faulkner, 46 and daughter Megan Faulkner, 17, of Castle Bromwich were joined by Kelly Grice, 36, who lives close to the West Browmich home and Mwamba Bennett, 41, from Wolverhampton.

Sara said: "As soon as we saw the appeal out on social media, we knew we had to volunteer. It's such a big job and needs so many people to help to make it work."

Daughter Megan added: "It's such a buzz to be down here, the atmosphere is amazing, we keep each other going."