Addam Smith staged his own version of DIY SOS when he discovered employee Keith Ellick had cancer and was given 12 months to live.
Fencer and landscape gardener Addam, 42, decided to do one better than Nick Knowles, who hosts the show. He set up a crowdfunding page which raised £58,000 to buy the council house so Keith’s widow Sasha Hogan, 28, and son Leighton, six, could move into a permanent home.
Addam was devastated when, in January 2016, Keith, 42, told him he had throat cancer. Addam said: “But all he talked about was how Sasha and Leighton would manage without him. Keith was a proper grafter and he worked so hard for me in the 10 years I knew him.”
After a few months company director Addam through Facebook had formed a 50-strong team to refurbish the two-bedroom home in Lincoln. The plumbers, builders and gardeners gave up their time off and, fuelled by bacon sandwiches and cups of tea from wellwishers, worked seven days straight to install a new kitchen and bathroom, lay new flooring, redecorate each room and landscape the front and back garden.
Keith didn’t know any of this was happening as when Addam and his team were hard at work, he was enjoying time away at a holiday chalet with Sasha and Leighton.
The makeover, which would have cost £60,000 in labour and material, was finished before the couple’s wedding in Lincoln register office later in May.
Addam was congratulated by Nick Knowles and has now applied for charitable status for his team called the Band of Builders to continue to help others in the building trade who fall on hard times through ill health or injury. If you are a tradesman you can offer your skills and time so that you can help people in need.
Keith died in March 2017 and Sasha said: “I know Keith is resting in peace because Leighton and I have our own home which was something we dreamed about together when he was still alive. What Addam and the Band of Builders did for Keith and us was amazing and I know it meant the world to him to know the people he loved were being looked after. The house is still a beautiful memory of the time we had.”