Plumping Cushions for DIY SOS!

In April 2015 we had the privilege of being invited to take part in a property redevelopment for BBC’s DIY SOS.

For us, DIY SOS started as an opportunity. An opportunity to do something nice, to give up a bit of our time to help someone in need. And, let’s be honest about this, an opportunity to showcase some of the work that our beautiful sellers create. But actually being involved in this project, being around people that gave up so much of their time working restlessly without question or grumble, and then going on to meet the inspiration that is Antonia, turned out to be one of the most humbling experiences of my life.

Tonia has Elhers-Danlos syndrome – a terminal illness that affects her joints and prevents her from eating normally resulting in the need for her to be fed through a line directly to her heart. Until DIY SOS got involved, Tonia had been living in hospital for over four years as her home was simply not suitable for her complex medical needs. The build included a substantial extension to Tonia’s home, including a functional sterile space for medical procedures in her own bedroom, a specially adapted wet room and an accessible space for her to socialise in. And, top of Tonia’s list, an outdoor space so she could enjoy the sun on her face.

The D& T team worked late into the night on the days which we were involved in, but this was never a 9 – 5 project. And whilst we put in some long hours for a couple of days, the trades who were really the foundations of this project – in every sense of the word, worked long hours for over two weeks. Nothing was too much trouble – no corners were cut, no problem too small. And in the hottest weather imaginable, (we actually turned up on day one loaded with Ice Lollies!) a great deal of sweat and effort was spent.

On the final day of filming – reveal day as it is referred too, everyone that had helped out were invited back to film the last section of the show and, most importantly for us all, to meet Tonia. Nothing could have prepared any of us for how emotional that meeting was. Even the maniliest of builders were visibly touched to their cores to be in the presence of this amazing young woman.   Tonia, and her family did not hold back in expressing their gratitude for everyone’s efforts, but it is us as a society who should be grateful to her. In her own words “…I use my charities to help others who are struggling like I have. My disease is incurable but that doesn’t mean I can’t live!” The work that Tonia relentlessly champions has helped hundreds of other children and young adults living through their own medical battles – she really is an incredibly brave and inspiring girl, and to have met her and to have contributed to this project was a privilege.

DIY SOS in on at 9pm Wednesday 1st February on BBC One.




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