DIY SOS rescue for ill mum stuck living in her kitchen

DIY SOS builder Billy Byrne (purple shirt) with local builders at Leeholme, Houghton.

DIY SOS builder Billy Byrne (purple shirt) with local builders at Leeholme, Houghton.

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SCORES of labourers have answered an SOS call to help a disabled mum.

About 70 tradesmen and women,have descended on Houghton to take part in a BBC One’s DIY SOS: The Big Build project.

Disabled June Finlay, with husband John and daughter Heather, of Leeholme, Houghton, who are to feature in BBC's DIY SOS Big Build programme.

Disabled June Finlay, with husband John and daughter Heather, of Leeholme, Houghton, who are to feature in BBC's DIY SOS Big Build programme.

The builders, plumbers, plasterers, and more, began transforming the home of June and John Finlay this week.

June, 65, suffers from Clippers disease, which has caused her to lose the use of her legs and hands and affected her speech.

The mum-of-one, a former Post Office worker, was diagnosed with the disease, which causes inflammation on the brain, after being admitted to Sunderland Royal Hospital with suspected pneumonia in 2009.

Doctors told husband John, 69, a retired electrician, she would never recover.

However, he has gradually helped his wife of more than 30 years to stand and speak a little again.

The couple’s house is not designed for disabled care, and is hindering June’s recovery.

But after three applications sent to DIY SOS by daughter Heather, 28, work has now begun to give them the home they need.

John said he hopes the team will build a downstairs wetroom and bedroom, as June washes and sleeps in a hospital bed in the kitchen.

DIY SOS presenter, Nick Knowles, said he is pleased to be helping such a worthy family.

“They are lovely,” he told the Echo. “And like so many people who have lived their lives paying into the system, they now find themselves needing help.

“I’m not quite sure how a woman finds herself living in a kitchen nowadays, and this is a couple who have always helped all their friends and neighbours.”

At the last count, more than 145 businesses had offered to help provide materials, manpower and catering to the nine day project, and Nick said he is still amazed by people’s generosity after making the programme for 15 years.

“All the people in the North East have come forward to help give them a better standard of living,” he said.

“It’s been chaotic and brilliant so far. As usual, people are fantastic and make us feel welcome. This is an amazing thing.”

DIY SOS: The Big Build, have previously transformed about 15 homes in the region, but producer Paolo Proto said he is pleased to be helping such a “devoted” couple.

“It’s nice because they are older,” he said. “And have worked their whole lives and ended up in this situation.

“John said ‘when you get married it’s for better or worse. Well, we had 30 odd years of better, and now this is our worse.’ We are pleased that we can help them.”

The programme will air on BBC One next year.