By Luke Kenton
This band of charitable builders secretly transformed the home of a terminally-ill former tradesman so he can play with his children once again.
In October 2014, dad-of-three Jamie Thompson was given heartbreaking news by doctors – he was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease and given just three years to live.
Now 49, the former electrician continues to exceed medics’ expectations, but bound to a motorized wheelchair, Jamie is unable to access certain parts of his home – most namely the garden – limiting his ability to play with his children.
Learning of his plight, charitable organisation Band of Builders stepped in to ensure Jamie could get in and out of his home in Cradley, Herefordshire, with ease.
Working tirelessly over the course of eight days for free, 30 builders completely transformed the exterior and kitchen of the Thompson household in secret – a process which took place in August 2018.
The transformation allowed grateful Jamie to play outside with his children – Ollie, 2, Kiya, 12, and Amber, 7 – for the first time since his diagnosis.
Jamie said: “I’m just gob-smacked.
“Obviously I had an inkling what they were doing, but nothing, nothing at all like this.
“They’ve done the front, they’ve done the drive, they’ve done the shed.
“All these little jobs that I wanted to do but obviously couldn’t and couldn’t afford to have done.
“It’s just staggering.”
The Band of Builders was formed by Addam Smith after his friend, Keith Ellick, was diagnosed with terminal cancer
Since then, the group dedicated its time to rallying around other tradesman who are going through a tough time.
Richard Patchesa, a trustee at Band of Builders, said: “When we first met Jamie, we realised that not only was he limited by MND, but by the lack of accessibility to some of the most sociable areas of his home.
“By installing a new kitchen, we’ve made one of the most sociable rooms in the house accessible to Jamie again, and he can finally spend time in his garden making memories with his family.
“For each and every person involved in the project, seeing Jamie and Sarah’s faces is more of a reward than any day rate, and if we’ve made just a tiny difference to their lives then we’ll be happy.”