Author Greg.Reygate Calendar 19 September 2018
DIY SOS family

Tonight (Wednesday 19th September), the BBC is showing a re-run of a DIY SOS episode from July 2017, where they built a new home for the Ratcliffe family on the Isle of Sheppey. The Hireman donated some equipment to this build to help with a life-changing transformation of their home. We went to the Big Reveal last year, and at the time wrote about the day and the emotion of the occasion. To go along with the episode re-run here’s the full post again:

If you saw last night’s DIY SOS, you will know that the Ratcliffes are an amazing family. Garry and Kyle have four adopted children, each with very complex and life-limiting medical conditions. Their existing house was a cramped three-bedroom bungalow with one bathroom. Initially when they adopted Hayden and Curtis this was manageable but they were then asked to temporarily foster Isobella and Phoebe. When Garry and Kyle learnt that the sisters were to be separated, with Phoebe likely to be adopted and Isobella left in care, they couldn’t bear the thought and decided to adopt both girls to keep them together.

DIY SOS family
The Ratcliffe family

The existing house was no longer suitable and desperately needed serious work, but four children with complex needs made this a difficult barrier to overcome. Not only could the family not afford the renovations but the time it would take would have a serious impact on the family. This is where the DIY SOS Big Build team came in.

The job in hand was no small task as the plan was to demolish the Ratcliffe’s existing house and then build a home from scratch in just nine days. On meeting with the DIY SOS team, we were immediately convinced this was something we would want to help with. We agreed a list of equipment that would be needed, coordinated our deliveries with their team and left the build in the hands of the committed tradesmen and ‘purple shirts’.

The Big Build Van!

However, things change quickly in TV land! The initial equipment list was soon out of the window and a much larger list of equipment was requested. With all due credit, our depots reacted swiftly sourcing the requirements and dispatched everything on time.

The day of the Big Reveal arrived and we travelled down to the Isle of Sheppey to be part of the ‘Big Reveal’. This was quite exciting as on our first visit the house had already been demolished, but now there stood an impressive modern home – and this had all happened in the space of just over a week! Along with 200+ other trades people, we waited in a ‘glamorous’ field up the road from the Ratcliffe’s new home while the DIY SOS team filmed the family’s reaction to first entering the house and being given a tour of their new home. Some of the ‘purple shirts’ were on hand to keep the crowd entertained while signing autographs and posing for photos. The final aspect of the filming is the part where the family meet the builders, and it’s true to say that the emotion you see on TV is genuine and there is a real sense of community spirit and a proud sense of achievement from the tradesmen and suppliers.

DIY SOS house
A new home in just nine days

Nick Knowles made a poignant comment to the gathered volunteers which wasn’t televised: TV often shows the worst of the building industry through programmes like Rogue Traders and Cowboy Builders, meaning a few bad apples shape the public perception of our industry. Programmes like DIY SOS show how amazing the building industry is, when companies come together from across the country to work 20 hours a day, provide equipment, supplies and materials, all for free, to benefit a family that really needs the support. It does make you proud to be part of an industry that is capable of such goodwill and camaraderie, and we are proud to have done our bit to help the Ratcliffes.

We also donated equipment to a second, very emotional, DIY SOS episode which aired earlier in 2018. This time it was rebuilding the home of PC Kris Aves, who was seriously injured in the Westminster Bridge terror attack. Read more about that episode.

If you're interested in setting up an account, all you need to do is pop an email over to [email protected] and we'll do the rest!

DIY SOS: The Big Build

Author Greg.Reygate Calendar 8 March 2018

The Hireman donated a range of site equipment to the DIY SOS The Big Build team to help with the rebuild of PC Kris Aves’s home in Barnet. The show aired on Wednesday 7th March, and if you saw it you’ll know Kris’s story. Kris was returning from a ceremony where he had been awarded for his work as a police liaison officer with the Metropolitan Police when he was caught up in the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack. He was left with serious injuries after being run over by the terrorist’s car while crossing the bridge.



Kris was unable to return home for months after the attack. With a house completely unsuited to his new needs he was stuck in hospital. Narrow corridors, no downstairs toilet and a  front door were just some of the issues facing the DIY SOS team when they arrived to refurbish the property.

Hundreds of volunteers were involved in this project, so many wanted to help that they actually had to turn people away! This is the second time we have donated equipment to a DIY SOS The Big Build project. This time we provided a wider range of kit, including; wheelbarrows, steps, heaters and lights, which we were only too happy to offer. It was a huge honour to be just a small part of this effort.

The Big Reveal

We gathered alongside the many other people who had helped out with the build for the Big Reveal. Predictably, it was a grey English morning but the weather wasn’t enough to dampen anyone’s spirits. It was lovely to see the whole community come together in support of Kris and this really came through in the show. Kris’s positivity really shone throughout the programme too, despite all that’s happened to him. People came from all over to help out, memorably for us a local baker turned up unprompted with an enormous cake to celebrate the occasion. It was also inspiring to see how many members of the Met Police had volunteered their time to be there and help.


It took 10 days hard work from a whole range of tradesmen to transform the house. The finishing touches were put on minutes before the Big Reveal as we all trekked up to see the house. After the final bits of filming both Kris and Nick gave moving speeches thanking everyone, and Nick emphasised how this sort of community effort shows what we can achieve when we all work together.

If you're interested in setting up an account, all you need to do is pop an email over to [email protected] and we'll do the rest!