Hundreds of tradesmen have answered the call to help transform the home of Mildenhall man Simon Dobbin who was left permanently brain damaged after he was set upon by thugs as he left a football match in Southend in 2015.
Simon’s daughter Rebecca contacted BBC programme DIY SOS, which helps families coping with medical conditions or disabilities by transforming their homes with the help of local suppliers and builders, and the family’s prayers were answered.
Later this month the programme’s team will spend around nine days working to transform the family’s home in Peterhouse Close.
Mark Millar, project manager, said the response to the programme’s trades day held at Mildenhall Town Football Club on Thursday had been ‘phenomenal’.
“We have been following Simon’s story for a long time and it was obvious that we had to come and help him and his family. Sometimes we have a panic if we are going to finish a project in time, but I have to say that the response we have had from Mildenhall means that if we don’t finish this, we won’t finish anything.”
More than 700 people offered to help through the programme’s application process along with hundreds who turned up for the trades day. The production team had to whittle these down to a manageable team.
The refurbishment will start on November 14, and the work at the Dobbin’s house will include transforming the ground floor with a new extension so Simon has his own bedroom complete with an accessible wet room, bringing an end to the current situation where his hospital bed is in the dining room with only a curtain separating his ‘room’ from the lounge. There will also be a physio space, with wheelchair access to the entire ground floor and garden.
Ben Ellis, 36, who put his name forward to help with the labouring on the job, said: “Football is quite a close community. Today proves it.”
Dale Cracknell, 29, and Eddie Ramplin 41, from DWC Construction signed up because staff at the four-man business have always wanted to take part in the programme.
“It’s not often that you get to help, you’re often in your own little bubble,” said Dale, who will be joined by dad Gavin on the build if selected.
“You’re always trying to make your own money and now we can give back,” said Eddie.