Mum ‘floored’ by generosity of Peterborough tradesmen

Lachan Read and her sister Dakota. Photo: Nikki Griffin
Lachan Read and her sister Dakota. Photo: Nikki Griffin
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A burly and benevolent crew of Peterborough tradesmen have transformed the life of a severely disabled little girl on the BBC TV show DIY SOS.

Six men from Stanground Carpets and Flooring, in Stanground, gave up nine days to re-lay every floor in the home of poorly Dakota Read.

DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles. Photo: Nikki Griffin

DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles. Photo: Nikki Griffin

The eight-year-old was born with quadriplegic dystonic cerebral palsy and cannot walk or talk, and has to be fed through a tube.

Bolstered by the Stanground outfit, DIY SOS modernised the Read’s 160 square metre bungalow with adaptations, including a ceiling track to help Dakota move around in a walker.

Freezing weather and snow flurries hampered the push at the five-bedroom home, in Weston Hills, Spalding.

But an emotional “big reveal” went ahead last Thursday and will be seen by millions of viewers in coming weeks. Nick Knowles and his BBC team filmed the Peterborough tradesmen inching along snowy back-roads in their van and battling sub-zero temperatures to level floors.

Stuart Clark (43), a director of the firm, said progress was set back as materials failed to set in the cold.

He said: “At the handover, Dakota’s mum Paula was crying and the grandfather spoke really well to say thank you to us all, even quoting Churchill.

“All the workers were stood around, and to see that our work’s rewarded, to see her mum like that and hear the grandparents’ thanks, made it nice to be involved.”

The Stanground family-firm lent a hand after receiving an e-mail from the producers of DIY SOS.

Mr Clark said: “The lady, Paula, had two grown-up children of 16 to 18 years old, and then had Dakota.

“She used to be a midwife, and they do a fantastic job, and she just looked like she needed the help particularly badly, and her son was living outside in a summer house.”

“Myself and my brother were reading the e-mail and that was it, we were onboard.”

Manpower spent helping Dakota during the New Year mission topped the £2,000 mark, estimated Mr Clark, who also donated underlay and specialist bathroom flooring to the overhaul.

Snowball fights helped volunteers relax during the refit, which medics hope will extend Dakota’s life-expectancy.

DIY SOS comes to Dakota’s rescue

BBC presenter Nick Knowles launched the long-running makeover television show, DIY SOS, in 1999 , to transform British homes in need.

DIY rescue projects over the years have tackled homes botched by cowboy builders, ruined by tragic events or effected by homeowners’ downturn of fortune.

Nick Knowles, Billy the Spark, Jules and Chris and Irish Mark, make up the show’s permanent refurb team.