Home renovation series. 15-year-old Jack has a rare form of muscular dystrophy. The team redesigns his family's house to help them all enjoy their time together.
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This is a story about a family staying strong for each other.
I stay positive about this
because there's no point looking at life as a downside
because you only live once, and I may as well live happily.
But they've endured 14 tough years
because of a rare and debilitating condition.
It's the hardest thing in the world when your child asks you,
"Am I going to come round after the op?
"Please don't let me die, Mum."
It absolutely destroys you.
Their home is totally unsuitable for a disabled teenager,
and it's adding to the pressure.
Most of the time, he's never seen me falling apart,
but the times when you shut the door and you have a good cry
and you do think to yourself, "Do you know what? Why me? Why Jack?"
And I don't know, "Why Jack?"
And that still kills me, to think, "Why Jack?"
Cos no child deserves what he's been through.
We've got nine days to give them the house they need.
It's not going to be easy.
Mark? The walls are just crumbling to bits up here.
We're nearly at finish. We don't need that,
we don't need that to happen now.
We're in Swansea, described by Dylan Thomas as "An ugly, lovely town".
All the usual suspects are here, and that's taken care of the ugly,
and our designer this week is the fragrant Gabrielle, but
we need an army of lovely people. Where are we going to find them?
How about this lot?
-Yeah, they look good.
-Up for helping us out?
Yes, it's DIY SOS: The Big Build!
So we're here to help single mother Helen Morris and her two boys,
21-year-old Daniel and 14-year-old Jack.
They live in this three-bedroomed semi, which has been
the family home for 26 years.
Helen works part-time at the local Job Centre
while son Daniel is a full-time administrator.
Daniel's the first grandson in the family.
A lot of girls in our family, my sister had two daughters,
ten girl cousins, so Daniel was very spoilt
and we were thrilled to have him
so when I was found out I was having another one
everybody was absolutely delighted as well.
Just wanted a lovely, beautiful, young man
like I had the first time around.
But soon after her second son Jack was born,
Helen noticed something was wrong.
He didn't sit up like a normal child or crawl like a normal child.
And as a mum, you do know. And I did.
And I pushed and pushed with the doctors, and then finally somebody
listened to him, and within a week he was referred to a consultant.
Tests revealed that Jack's hips were out of their sockets.
He was put in traction and he was upside-down in a cot
and both his legs were attached to a rope, and every day
they sort of stretched the rope a little bit
until after the ten days then his hips had stretched enough
ready for the operation.
You think at the time that was quite a difficult time
but as time has gone on it's like he's been through a lot worse,
a lot worse.
Doctors discovered that Jack was suffering with a rare form
of muscular dystrophy,
so rare it only affects one in a million people.
The condition makes the muscles in the top of the legs, hips
and back really weak, and in severe cases
causes scoliosis, or curvature of the spine.
By the age of seven, his curve in the spine was 37 degrees, and
within three months it went to 90, so basically his spine collapsed.
Jack has had 19 operations in his short life,
but the biggest operation came just 12 months ago, when he was fitted
with halo and pelvic traction, in an attempt to straighten his spine.
I couldn't move then from my neck to my hips.
I was staying stuck in one position.
Every time I had to stand up you could feel the pins moving in me.
It was really painful and I was getting infection after infection.
He used to say to me, "Oh, Mam, please just get the doctor
"and just tell him to get it off me."
And Jack's never been a quitter in his life,
but he was in so much pain.
And there was times when we were in hospital,
he looked at me as if he hated me.
I do hope one day he realises that I've done it
for all the right reasons, just to give him the best chance in life.
After nine months in traction, Jack had a final operation
to permanently fuse the vertebrae of his spine together.
Every operation is life-threatening for Jack
because his condition makes him an anaesthetic risk.
Well, for the last two years he knows what's coming,
and that's the hardest thing in the world
when your child is asking you
"Am I going to come round after the op?
"Please don't let me die, Mam." Absolutely destroys you.
Surgeons have stabilised Jack's condition,
but he is unable to walk on his own.
Now the house is hampering his recovery.
Morning, Jack, time for school.
He's been forced to sleep in the lounge
and hasn't been able to use his front door for years.
Jack is very reliant on me at the moment.
And it's not ideal, he's frustrated.
I mean, he can't get up the stairs, can't go into his own bedroom.
As soon as I get out of bed, my mum gives me a wash,
cos it's hard for me to walk into the bathroom,
and as I can't sit as low as a normal toilet,
I have to have a commode in there, so that takes up even more room.
You don't want your mum bathing you, you don't want your mum taking you
to the toilet, you don't want your mum helping you clean your teeth.
It's something that needs to be done and I'm sure most mums would do it.
Big brother Daniel has witnessed Jack's struggle first-hand.
I think that Jack feels that sometimes that he'd love to be able
to do things himself rather than ask my mum, just to give
her a bit of a break.
He knows that there are certain things he can and can't do
and the things he can't do, he's always reliant on my mother.
And with Jack's bed and equipment taking up most of the living area,
Daniel is spending more time away from the family home.
Since Jack has had to move all his stuff downstairs with his bed
and everything, now there isn't much room for my mates to come round
at all, so at the moment these days we either tend to go out
to one of my mates' houses or just go out all together.
Nobody really comes round here any more.
Daniel is, of course, very understanding of his brother,
but the situation with the house is pushing them apart
and it's taking its toll on Helen, too.
Most of the time he's never seen me falling apart,
but the times when you shut the door and you have a good cry
and you do think to yourself, "Do you know what, why me? Why Jack?"
And I don't know why Jack?
And that still kills me to think, "Why Jack?"
Cos no child
deserves what he's been through.
It's going to take a very big build to bring this family back together.
So what do you fancy, then, Jack? What are we going to do in there?
I'd like it to be accessible for me really downstairs
so I'll be able to move around freely in my frame.
And what about a bit of space maybe for you and your brother
to spend some time together?
Yeah, we haven't really been able to spend time together
because the bed has been in the dining room, so it would be nice
to have like a family meal together on our dining table.
Dan spends time in his room, as well, and it would be nice
if we can all sit together.
That's the difficulty, though. With Jack living in the lounge it hasn't been a home for you at all?
No, it has been really hard. I mean, we can't really use
the living room as much as we wanted to.
Jack's got so much equipment and everything there's no room to do anything.
Are you surprised, pleased, nervous about everybody turning up
and getting involved?
Absolutely, just like a dream come true, honestly.
It doesn't happen to people like us.
We're still really shellshocked.
As usual the family are moving out and handing over their keys
and precious home to us,
and who wouldn't entrust their home to this beautiful bunch(?)
We thought it might be nice for you to meet the family.
-This is Jack, and Daniel and Helen.
-How are you doing?
These are the guys that we're working for this week. What do you need us to do?
Anything at all, we'd be very grateful and thank you all very much.
It's going to be totally life-changing for us.
Well, wait and see what they do first, they might be rubbish.
I wouldn't even mind if was painting the walls, honestly.
I think we'll do a bit more than paint the walls.
So if you'd like to make your way off.
-We'll catch-up with you later. Thanks very much, guys.
-Thank you everyone, ta-ra.
So here we go, then. It's day one of the build
and we have, in the next few days, to build a large single-storey
extension and totally renovate the house and garden.
That's all right, then.
A bit more ventilation, boys.
Which is always nice when you've got a lot of sweaty builders in a small room.
And don't think I'm being disparaging, this thing only
works if we all pull together and work as a team and do it my way.
When we do a big extension like this we have to put
the pad down early, so there's a week and a half's work gone on here
and, as a result, there's a huge amount of earth banked up at the back there,
which now needs to be got out, about 20 tonne, we reckon.
You'll find there's plasterers, chippies and electricians
and all kinds of people in there trying to barrow the stuff out.
Is it looking good, boys?
-It's looking marvellous.
-Looking lovely. Tidy!
-Marvellous, isn't it?
Lovely Welsh accents, lovely Welsh accents.
I'm allowed to do that. I grew up around Merthyr. There's something not so lovely waiting outside.
-I've got a little test for you.
I want you to close your eyes and feel something.
You've tried that once, I'm not doing that again.
No, no, it's nothing rude, I want you to feel something
-and you tell me what it is.
Oh! That is something rude.
Urgh! What's going on?
-I slipped over and I think I've cracked a bone.
-It's started coming up a bit.
-Show me your other elbow for comparison.
Oh, it's all blobby, isn't it? It's all... Oh!
I think it needs an X-ray to find out what's erm...
What's causing it.
Or maybe some insect has planted eggs in there and it's currently growing.
-You toddle off cos I'm feeling...
-Would you mind if I shoot off?
-No, you go to hospital as soon as possible.
-I feel sick now looking at that.
Man down already, that wasn't part of the plan.
Talking of which, does anyone know the plan?
Ah, this woman looks like she might know what she's talking about.
Yes, it's the flame-haired lovely with a flair for design
and a passion for all things great. It's Gabrielle Blackman.
So what's this about the three business going through this house?
Well, Jack's now 14 so before you know it you're going to have three
adults living in this house and the most important thing is getting
enough social space for them because at the moment they have none.
Both individually and together.
Thank you, Nick.
-It would have been lovely with slightly less sarcasm.
-Why do you hate this bit so much?
-I don't hate this bit, this is important.
-This is important to translate your vision to the viewer
cos she writes to me every now and again and tells she doesn't get it.
So let me explain Gabrielle's design,
it's all about independence for Jack and space for the family.
We demolish the old kitchen and bathroom to make way
for a large single-storey extension.
There it goes.
This will house the first of three shared spaces,
a large open-plan kitchen-diner.
Then there will also be a bedroom for Jack with en suite
wet room, giving him independence and space to grow into a man.
The old living space is being subtly reconfigured to create
two further shared spaces, cosy lounge and an adjoining study.
The hallway and doors will be widened
and an all-new wheelchair ramp at the front of the house
will give Jack access via his front door for the first time in years!
Let's move upstairs.
Jack's old bedroom will become a new family bathroom
and there are bedrooms for Helen and Daniel.
One of the things I find most touching about talking to Jack
is that he's so aware the impact of his condition
on everybody around him, and he's got such a...
And again it's going back to this burden and this guilt
that he feels for the sacrifices everybody is making for him.
And that relationship with his mum has been very close
but he is going to want space on his own as he gets older.
He's worried about his mum, he's worried about his mum's back.
She's been physically carrying him around for all these years.
We're giving her her own bathroom, it's going to be really beautiful.
-I understand that's quite important to a woman.
-It is very important.
What is it about the bathing moment that is such a big deal?
It's just, frankly, an excuse to be on your own for five minutes.
-Oh, is that what it is?
Is that a bit like when I go and sit on the throne for 20 minutes,
it's that time on your own.
Do you see what I mean?
Every woman now is saying it's so we don't have to listen to that
for about an hour. That's why you go into a nice bath.
You've got to love the Welsh sense of community.
We've got 80 tradespeople here today, all just mucking in together.
Of course, I'm part Welsh, you know.
All right, Auntie Sheila and Uncle Fred?
I'll be up to see you later on.
Do you know any Welsh?
I just did it - "isn't it?"
-That's my full Welsh repertoire.
-Oh, all right.
Is it? Isn't it? Is it? Isn't it?
Thinking about it, I probably should work on my Welsh repertoire.
Meanwhile, I think Gabrielle needs to work on her decision making.
What's happened to the porch way?
Well, we took it down because it wasn't working at all
and now we're making a new one.
-Hang on, you took down a perfectly good porch...
-It wasn't perfectly good.
..because you didn't like having the porch and when you took it off you realised you wanted one?
No, it wasn't I didn't like having a porch, I didn't like having that specific one.
It's going to be exactly the same, isn't it?
I need to think about it because it's someone house.
If I make thoughtless, thought-free decisions.
Surely they could also be described as incisive decisions?
Well, not if they're the wrong ones.
I need to think. I need two flipping minutes to think whether it's the wrong or the right decision.
Do you want me to try and draw something?
No, and you're not allowed anywhere near any of this.
She's getting quite tense, isn't she?
So we're a man down without Chris, and Gabrielle is making extra work
for us but at least we've shifted the 20 tonnes of soil from the
back of the house and we're ready to start work on the landscaping.
Gabrielle has mirrored her plan of creating
three social spaces in the garden, too.
Low-threshold double doors from the kitchen-diner
and Jack's bedroom lead out onto a paved terrace.
An access ramp then heads to a larger space
for entertaining family and friends.
Finally we're creating a garden room for Jack and Daniel,
an all-weather space for them to hang out as brothers,
giving Helen some respite.
If this works it's going to be brilliant.
But even the best-laid plans can come unstuck.
Nobody accounted for this tree stump exactly where the garden room
needs to go and it's not shifting for man or machine.
What I'm really stressed about is the garden room takes up the whole of this length.
Yeah, what's wrong with that?
And we've got a flipping massive great big stump here.
The best thing to do with that is a stump grinder.
-Have you ever seen a stump grinder at work?
-It's a proper big boy's toy.
-It makes a bit of a mess.
-Lovely, isn't it?
-So does it just...?
It just grinds it and flicks the sawdust all over the place.
Hang on a second, I know we know we need a stump grinder,
but where are we going to find one that's the point?
It's a specialist bit of kit and we need it today
if we stand a chance of building the garden room for Jack and Daniel on time.
It is a crucial space, it's where the boys will be able
to hang out together as brothers and that's important.
Tell me about your relationship with your brother?
My brother is like a best friend to me.
He just tries his best to help me.
He helps me with my work.
He plays me on the Xbox.
Erm, we spend time in the living room together
but because he plays... He's very sporty and I'm not.
I can't play football with him so I'm just stuck watching him, really.
Where do you think you get that sort of strength from cos not everybody deals with it so well?
My mother's really strong and she's always there next to me.
I think the genes have come from her to be strong-hearted, really.
That's very cool.
She's a fighter ,your mum, isn't she?
And you've a very close relationship?
I think it is closer than many other people because
the amount of time I've spent in hospital over the last years
and she's always been there next to me
and she didn't really miss a night, really.
And I know over that we have made a really big bond.
It is really bad the way...
the way it affects them because they all have to really spend
their time around me, and Mum
has spent most of her time around me and
might have pushed Dan out a little bit
but Dan has got on with that brilliantly.
It's clear that Jack and Daniel love each other very much
but the situation with the house is getting in the way of them
enjoying quality time together as brothers.
Back at the building, things are looking up.
The walls of the timber frame extension are up
and our injured soldier has returned.
Here he is, he's back.
-Oh, it's still there.
-It's still there exactly the same.
Apparently it's not angry.
Will you hold that, please.
Did it turn out to be a hernia that had gone a very long way?
Have you broken something.
I've got student's elbow, check me out.
-You've got student's elbow.
How does that work, then?
-What's student's elbow?
That's mainly from doing that all day, isn't it?
"I'm feeling sad about myself, I haven't got a girlfriend."
Did they laugh at you when they told you you had student's elbow?
-A little bit.
-You haven't been a student in your life!
-That's what I said to her.
-But he is a student of life.
See, we're very supportive, which is just as well because Gabrielle is breaking the house.
Mark! The walls are just crumbling to bits up here.
This is his supportive face.
Where is she? What's the problem?
Well, it's all just coming off, my darling.
It's coming off the walls like that. I know I'm incredibly strong but...
Right, we're going to have to rip all the walls out. We can't do anything with that.
Are you all right on that? Get these walls stripped.
If the studs are rubbish, we'll build new studs.
I'd quite like us to stop finding new things to do.
We're going to need more man power and woman power, in actual fact.
Go to it, our Titian strawberry blonde buddy.
Now surely something is going to go right today,
I can feel it in me waters.
We have a stump grinder!
What a bit of kit.
And, as I expected, Gabrielle is duly impressed with the grinding.
Look at that, very happy.
Oh, a lovely bit of kit that, ain't it?
Proper savage piece of equipment.
So were you grinding somewhere else when we called you?
Yeah, yeah, we've abandoned a job for this...
-For this project.
-Was it a big stump, was it?
-Erm, it was bigger than that.
It's about that size now but it was that size when we started.
Do you know what? He's just one of many who've given up paid work to come and help.
Lovely, lovely people... So why do they do it?
We've all got families. I've got a 14-year-old boy the same age as Jack.
When I heard the story that really did sort of hit home
because you realise how fortunate you are with your own kids
and for what's Jack's been through, and meeting him the other day,
and the smile that he's got on his face,
there's no questions as to why we're doing it.
Are you looking forward to when the family come back and see this?
Yes, yes, really am, yes.
Will you be emotional, do you think?
Are you an emotional man?
Are you a man who has a little cry?
Not in public but I do have a little...now and again.
-A few man hugs maybe at the end of the week, or is that going too far?
No, no, I do like a man hug now and again but not in public.
Oh, right. Do you want a man hug now, or not?
-Do you need to turn the camera away for this?
-No, let's go for it.
That's what we call in Wales a cwtch.
-A cwtch, is that what they call it?
There's another one for my Welsh repertoire, a cwtch.
Well, as we look through the house a new stud wall built in here,
this is going to be the study area
and then we move through into what will be the living room area
where we've made a lot of dust in the air at the moment and
the ceiling's down, the electrics in, plumbing in etc, etc.
Come through into the new building.
Cos, as you can see, it's extraordinary large.
This is going to be kitchen and bedroom and then wet room.
If you look out here over the top of my lovely friends here,
even the garden' been made a start on. So quite a good day, don't you think?
-We've done a very good day.
-It's been lovely.
It's been that good let's go and have some dinner.
That's a very good idea, all right.
-See you in the morning.
Well, another day and we've got 80 trades on site this morning again.
Even the local bobbies are rolling up their sleeves to help.
You've got to pull them over when they're with the wheelbarrow and go,
"What speed do you think you're doing?"
Why have you and your mate decided to come in and join in
and throw yourselves at this particular project?
It's just nice to go and help into the community
like, you know, help a boy who needs a bit of help.
It's just enjoyable, you know, something to do nice, like.
-Have you got kids yourself?
-I've got four.
Inside the plumbers are flying through the house but it appears
that someone has amended Gabrielle's plan without consulting her.
There's a pipe in the way and I've got to redesign the furniture.
You've got to have gas in here,
got to have gas, got to have heat, got to have warmth.
No, but it would be nice if someone could say,
"Gabbers, we're about to put a flipping great big pipe in..."
We couldn't do that cos we had to get the scaffolders in.
-We had to get the plumber in so the scaffolders...
-I'm right here!
I was probably over there when this happened.
Yes, but you were dealing with what shape you wanted the garden wall to be.
You can't deal with everything, you're not omnipresent.
Well, I'm just bimbling about.
If people would say, "Do you mind if we ruin your design in this room,
"just as we ruined it in that room?"
In which case we better consult her before we drop
the ceiling height in that room.
It's purely aesthetic but I thought it would be nice to hide this step in the corner.
Do you want this ceiling reduced, or not?
I'm thinking it through, I can't just, you know.
-I don't know if I want to lose the ceiling height or not...
-I don't think we can.
-I think you should lose the ceiling height.
I don't think we can. Look how high the window's coming up.
-I don't think you can.
-Yeah, it would look stupid.
-How about some nice curves.
-No, no, no way.
And then you can mimic it in that corner over there,
-so you get like a...
-Oh, oh, oh!
You could have four of them in each corner.
Please! I'm actually going to be physically sick
if anyone does any curvy ceilings.
And then a nice ceiling rose in the middle, mimicking the four corners.
Just let me actually think it through.
-Well, when can we expect a decision on that one?
-Well, I mean...
This is why we don't consult you.
I need to give her some time.
Maybe an hour, or a day, or a year.
I can use the time to go off and have a chat with Daniel,
who you'll remember Jack described as his best friend.
You were seven when Jack came along
and so you've lived with this your whole life.
Has that been difficult?
When Jack came and, obviously, he had his disability
I wasn't having as much attention as most kids of my age would have had
but it's something that...Jack needed our help and I understood that
and my mother did everything, not only for Jack
but she did try and spend and do as much stuff with me.
It's something you seem to get on with and you start to live with then.
Do you find it difficult, as a brother,
knowing there are things that Jack can't join in with?
Well, I do feel really sympathetic for him.
I mean, well, knowing that, he's already told me how hard
he find things, watching everyone do what basically he can't do but,
I mean, with Jack he's got a really big heart and he just gets on with it
and he's happy for everyone else even though he knows he can't do it.
He's a teenage boy and he's growing into his teenage years
and, I guess, what he really wants is independence.
I think he does feel a bit guilty sometimes, like he has to
ask my mother mostly and then me for some things that he can't do,
but I mean he tries, he just wants things to be as normal as possible
for himself, to be honest with you.
So the more independence we can give him the better.
Yeah, definitely, and he'd really enjoy that, as well, knowing
that he wouldn't have to ask me and my mum for so much any more.
Yep, it seems Jack's independence IS key to giving this family
the quality of life they deserve.
Time to get back to site and there's been a change.
Look at the outside of the house, it's been rendered all over
and is looking very, very pretty.
Although, I may have forgotten to consult Gabby on something.
Well, I've just overheard by pure chance somebody ordering
-decking for the garden.
Because we have to raise to a level of the patio doors
and you've got flush exit/entry patio doors.
Yeah, low threshold, yeah.
And when we actually bring the pipe, the concrete down to this edge
and the ramp at the far end, it leaves this area in here
-and so if we put a wood decking down here...
-No, no, no!
-With a retaining wall.
-Nick. Nicholas, seriously, just stop.
You said...I mean nobody even talked to me about this
and the one thing the family asked me for is no decking.
I can't have decisions like that made without even asking me.
We did. We talked about it together, didn't we?
We talked about it, Nick, yeah. It's the part end problem, you know, with the level threshold.
No, no! Argh! I'm completely aware of the level threshold.
This is just not a discussion I'm going to have.
If I said sorry would it help?
Sorry would help and not being so patronising would really help.
I'm really sorry and I'll try to be less patronising. I don't mean to be patronising at all.
Well, you can't help it. It is just your demeanour, to be fair, you do it to everyone, doesn't he, Chris?
-Have I been patronising to you?
-No, not to me, no.
You said that in a really condescending way.
-Now I feel bad.
I do, I really do feel bad. I was only trying to help.
We're still waiting on a decision for the porch, or the ceiling in the lounge.
Things are cracking on with the access ramp for Jack,
such a simple thing being able to use your own front door.
It's an absolutely sweltering hot day, too,
so the tops are coming off all over the place,
including Jules with his special builder's tan.
It's stuck to me.
-When I was young and fit and working on the building site.
-I burnt my shoulders a bit, cos I was walking around topless.
I burnt my shoulders, so I got a T-shirt and I cut it off there.
-You went crop top?
-I went crop top.
What were you thinking, Perryman!
-Well, I was just trying to protect my shoulders.
And I was just walking up Modbury high street
and I was getting wolf whistles from men and women.
It was a bit scary.
And I promise we did not spray tan his head.
-Are you all right?
-Yes, sweetie, going well.
It's like Jodrell Bank up here. This is the bit that scares me. I don't like electricity.
I feel like I'm a puppet on strings.
I was going to ask you a question, what's your favourite job
you've ever had, obviously, other than DIY SOS?
Saudi Arabia, Nicaragua...
I reckon, I had a few years in the fairgrounds.
That doesn't surprise me at all, to be honest.
Well, it's true cos there's a...
-There's a bit of everything in me, you know that.
So which stall did you run?
The strange thing was I was pretty good at shooting.
So you reckon you're a bit of a sharp-eyed shooter?
Well, the trouble is I was losing a lot of money from pundits
coming up and bang, bang, bang.
In the end they said, "You've got to beat Billy."
They used to call me Billy The Shot Bull's-eye Byrne.
Did anyone ever beat you?
-No-one beat me.
38 years, man and boy.
And they called you what was it again?
Billy The Shot Bull's-eye Byrne.
-Yeah, I've never missed.
Now you know that that's a bit of a set-up.
I know, but play along with us cos it's going to be very entertaining.
He's off to meet the boys because I've suddenly realised that
shooting is something they can all do together.
-Go on, tell your brother what you're doing.
-We're going shooting.
Brilliant, that's something we can do together.
That's the point and we've invited Billy, our best shot.
He's supposed to have been here by now. Where is he?
Come on, then, boys, let's get to it.
What have you come as?
This is what we used to wear when we used to go shooting.
-What, to sneak up on people?
-You don't want them to see you, do you?
You're not a sniper, we're just doing some friendly shooting.
Look, I'm going to go over there and do some sunbathing,
the shooting is through that way. Off you go.
Jack, Danny, come on, let me show you how good I am.
Suffering the usual lack of confidence,
our flip-flop assassin is heading off to take on the boys
and I bet he won't make any excuses.
Oh, I haven't done this for a couple of years, I promise you.
Maybe one or two excuses.
OK, right, so, Jack, we just need to put that cross
on what you want to hit and then just slowly squeeze the trigger.
Now a funny thing happens here,
it turns out Jack is a bit good at this.
-You got him! Yes, downed it!
-I got that, it was mine.
-No, it wasn't.
And so is Daniel.
In fact, in no time, they're knocking down target after target.
So push that into the left so that it slides.
Whilst Billy still hasn't worked out how to switch the thing on.
Oh, that one? I see.
I'm going to go for that little rat.
You dirty rat, you killed my brother.
Yes, impressions of people from 1936!
Oh, I didn't load it.
Oh, yeah, that was a great hit.
..are doing amazingly well.
Oh, another one. You're really showing Billy how to do it, he's missing every shot next-door here.
Yeah, couldn't hit a barn door.
-It was the wind.
Making ugly eyes at me.
Getting further away each time now, Billy.
Did you know, I could split a matchstick from 300 yards?
OK, Jack, when you're ready, go for the pyros on what
we call the tombstone, then you'll be in for a big surprise.
So to prove he's really good, look at this.
Yes, brilliant stuff, excellent.
That was a genuine shot and so is this.
Come on, Bill, you can do it.
That's on a different course altogether.
I think there's something wrong with your eyesight there, Bill.
I'm the best shot there is, Billy The Shot Bull's-eye Byrne.
Do you know what I mean?
I don't know about bull's-eye. Bull something.
What a cracking day for the boys, though, I really enjoyed that.
So we're at the halfway stage and things are starting to take shape.
Gabrielle eventually decided to drop the ceiling height in the lounge,
and now the plasterers are cracking on with the boarding and skimming
and it's at this point I think building sites turn into real houses once the plaster goes on.
The tiles are going on the walls in Jack's wet room
and the kitchen is being installed.
Outside the house is being transformed with a new render
and beautiful sash windows and work on the garden room is under way
and they've started on the drainage and paving.
I have to admit Gabrielle's Plan A was the correct plan.
Still no news on the porch, though,
and there is a still a long way to go.
And it seems we've hit a problem with Jack's wet room floor.
The water from the shower runs back towards Jack's bedroom door.
ON PHONE: Oh, my God, right.
So we need to take that beautiful floor you've just laid,
take that... Is that glued down?
'Yes, it's fully bonded, yes.
'You can run a knife round the base of the cork where the radius hits the flat.'
-And peel that floor out and get it prepped for you to come back and lay a new floor?
All right, Phil, thanks for your help, mate,
I'll speak to you later on. Cheers.
That room has to work perfectly for Jack so that he can go in
and have a shower, that the whole room is perfect for him
and we're nearly at finish. We don't need that, we don't need that to happen now.
So we've got to be positive, be positive and get it sorted out.
What he means is the water is running towards the doorway
not towards the plughole as it should.
So whilst they're sorting that out, I'm going to pop round to have a chat with Mum.
What do you think people would not understand about having to
deal with all the things you've dealt with?
It is difficult bringing up the boys and working and being a mum
and Jack, as Jack's been on... with Jack 24/7 but...
What can you say? There are, like, I don't know,
a lot of people going through what I'm going through.
Would it be fair to say that the hardest thing is
the fact that is just doesn't ever stop?
It has been constant for the last, well, since he's been born.
I mean, he had his first operation at nine months so just..
-Just worn out?
And what really hurt me is when I was coming home from hospital,
the nurse practitioner phoned Social Services to see if there was any help available
and the comment that was made was,
"Yeah, we could help if she was having a nervous breakdown"
and they were like, "Are you having a nervous breakdown?"
Then it goes through my head then and if I...
Daft things go through your head. I said, "Well, if I admit to them
"I'm having a nervous breakdown they may take my kids off me."
Do you know? Like, silly things go...
So I just felt as soon as I came out of hospital
you're just very much on your own and you've got to get on with it.
You wonder where Jack gets his strength from. To me it's very clear.
So where do you get your strength from?
Cos Jack's strong, Jack makes me strong
and, you know, he needs me
and at one time for five months he needed me 24/7
and that was a hard time, so...
He's in pain and he gets on with it so I think,
"What am I moaning about?" You know, he's the one that's struggling
and I'm... That's where I get my strength, from it's from Jack.
It's very clear that they get their strength from each other.
They lean on each other, they support each other.
It's a very lovely family, isn't it?
Well, it's the last day and there's a long way still to go.
The wet room floor is being re-latexed to make the water run towards the drain,
but it still isn't right.
It's been bulked up to an extent but it,
they've built-up this area here but this area here is still...
If we bring another coat of latex now to that height,
it's still only just giving you a fall.
We're at the point now when we have to start bringing a lip up and
-then that gives us the difficulty of wheelchair access.
-We're going to have to build it up.
-This pushes you back again, doesn't it?
Definitely cos he's been in here for three days now.
Do you want a cwtch?
Correct use of the word cwtch there, you see.
I need a cwtch, too, at the moment.
Things aren't just going wrong in the wet room.
These bespoke shelves are beautifully built in Jack's bedroom
but they're in the wrong place.
The guys, in their haste, checked this dimension.
Off of the reveal when they should have done it from the wall.
And this is the important dimension, obviously, his bed.
And how is it on the bed?
So we need 1050 and we've got 960
which would be fine for a standard single but this is our hospital bed.
So it's all got to come off and move over.
Yes, and this has taken a really, really long time,
and we've got wires and pipes
and, you know, if we'd plied it, it would not be a problem.
-But we didn't?
-There's no point in talking about what we could have done.
-I know, I know.
See, this is what makes me wrinkly,
and the garden's got a lot to do too.
This is the last day, we've got to nail this.
-You've got a bit left to do down there.
-Yeah, about an hour left down there.
Can we reduce the amount of paving we can do up here
and make a path through so that you can get from the top of the ramp
into the shed and onto the garden, and just gravel this section here?
Yeah, yeah, that's no problem.
We're going to have to put pressure on you to try and get this out
so we can get all the bodies off this bit so we can get this down
-cos we don't want to be here at midnight tonight laying slabs.
We've only just starting building this 1,800-brick sidewall.
What do you reckon, five of them on this wall?
We reckon there's going to be five tubs of this on the wall.
You know this lot are not going to be beaten,
they have turned out in their droves and are working like Trojans.
Strike that, they're not working like Trojans,
they're working like Welsh people from the Swansea area, which is
exactly what they are, these people are going to make a difference.
One person who knows just how much it means is Jack's
play specialist from the hospital, Jane.
You nominated the family, Jane, and you've worked with him
as he's gone through all of his various operations?
How tough has the process been for him in what he's gone through?
He has scoliosis correction seven years ago and rods put in,
but because he was still only seven then
the rods have a growing system, so it's a bit like an expandable shower curtain rail.
Every six months he'd come in and have the rods extended
and people think because, you know, these children have been in before,
had the treatment before, it gets easier. Well, sometimes it doesn't.
As they get older it gets harder and harder to come in and have those ops done.
His last day was particularly tough, wasn't it?
I know Helen was very emotional about it.
Yeah, for that last visit Helen got quite upset
when he was going up to theatre.
So I went in with Jack and as he's going off to sleep
for the anaesthetic he said,
"Oh, Jane, will you make sure my mum's OK?"
You know, even when he's going through all that, he was still
worried about his mum and they are just such a close,
loving family, you know. It's wonderful to watch it, really.
That's why they deserve it, they never complain, they never ask for anything...
-No, just get on with it...
-She still goes to work.
-You know it's amazing really.
-She's never lived off benefit, she's you know, she's...
And she's just got on with life.
It seems that this family's story has touched so many people
and motivated many more to turn out and help.
I've got a 14-year-old grandson of my own.
I think this young lad just needs all the help we can give him.
Erm, I'm in the position to do it and I'm glad to do it.
And it's not just people from the local community.
Laurence here has brought his team all the way from Exeter.
It's the second time in three years that you've joined in with us
and the same reason, I can imagine.
It is, I think having a daughter who's got special needs
I know the quality of life that the children will get
from having this building. I don't need to question it.
And Tony's been working nights in a care home before coming
to help out here every day.
Well, I had a niece who was disabled
and she had a similar facility put in.
She had a bedroom and a wet room downstairs
and it makes a world of difference.
Just a little bit of going without sleep for me and it's not a long time.
A fantastic feeling, you can't buy that.
People have come from all walks of life to help out, you know.
It's been great, ain't it? We've had a lot of local heroes on this job.
And the most famous tiler in Wales.
# Turn around...
# Every now and then I get a little bit lonely. #
SHE LAUGHS CHEERING
Bonnie Tyler in the house!
Doing the tiling, literally.
OK, so she wasn't really doing the tiling,
but she certainly got everyone fired up for the final push.
Look at this lot go.
Go on, Bonnie!
I think we've even cracked the wet room floor.
So we need to start up here by the door jamb.
-There we go.
-There she goes.
That's what you call a Rory McIlroy.
Gabrielle's bespoke porch is a triumph. A triumphal arch, if you like.
Shame she's not here to see it
as she's doing some portrait shots of the dog.
Have you thought this through? Why is everything grey?
I hate tongue and groove.
That's Nick Knowles. NICK LAUGHS
It wasn't bad actually, was it?
Do you know what else isn't bad, the finishing touches on the house.
Look at 'em go! They are proper heroes one and all!
MUSIC: I Need A Hero by Bonnie Tyler
Nine days ago, this tired, old house
fell a long way short of meeting the family's needs.
Jacks' mobility meant that he was left stranded in his own living room
and totally reliant on his mum, Helen, to do the simplest of tasks.
In the middle of the night, if I need anything,
to go to the toilet or something like that,
I'd have to call my mum to come downstairs.
And I really don't like doing that because, as my mother's tired doing everything for me in the day,
I like for her to have a good night's sleep. So I just wait until the morning.
But mum stayed strong for Jack even when she was struggling inside.
Most of the time he's never seen me falling apart,
but there are times when you shut the door and you have a good cry
and you do think to yourself, "Do you know what, why me, why Jack?"
And I don't know why Jack.
And that still kills me to think, "Why Jack?"
Cos no child...deserves what he's been through.
The lack of space meant that Helen's only retreat was her bedroom,
and brother Daniel couldn't spend quality time with Jack as he once did.
Jack's bed is in the one half of the living room
and then he's got his big chair in the other half.
So, it's really hard for everyone to sit down there as a family and spend time together.
The local community and those from further afield
have given it their all to complete this build on time.
And they've done an incredible job.
The outside of the property has been totally transformed
with a white, bright render and beautiful sash windows.
Gabrielle's bespoke porch with Welsh slate tiles and this stylish front door
welcome family and friends into the home.
And, you know, it's the new access ramp at the front that's such a big deal,
a wider hallway and doors will allow Jack
to use his front door for the first time since he was a very small child.
Gabrielle has utilised every millimetre of the old living space
where Jack once slept to create two defined but accessible spaces.
A practical study with a bespoke desk gives Jack a place to revise for his GCSEs,
whilst Helen relaxes nearby in this cosy lounge.
Double doors lead through into the new extension,
which is home to the large kitchen-diner,
a space where the family can enjoy meals around the table together once again.
At the rear of the extension
is a bedroom for Jack with en suite wet room.
Filled with gadgets, it's a space that gives him
privacy and independence as he grows into a young man.
Upstairs there's a double bedroom for Daniel,
so he can spend more time at home.
And we've refreshed Helen's bedroom
to create a tranquil and calm retreat.
You know Jack's old bedroom has been given a spruce up too,
it's become a modern but luxurious bathroom,
a space for Helen to relax and pamper herself.
Right, let's nip outside. The garden has been completely overhauled
to make it wheelchair accessible.
We've created three zones to meet the needs of every occasion.
Double doors from the kitchen-diner and Jack's bedroom lead out onto this beautiful paved terrace,
a place where Helen can enjoy a glass of wine with friends.
A nice little subtle access ramp leads to this low-maintenance entertaining space for parties.
And, finally, this garden room is a man-only hang-out for Jack and Daniel
to enjoy quality time as brothers.
This is a home for three people to enjoy independence and privacy,
but also be together as the strong family they are.
It's time for them to come home.
OK, the house needed to change to make your life better,
Jack's life better, Daniel's life better.
We hope we've given you what you need.
Open your eyes.
-Oh, my gosh!
Oh, my God!
God! It's amazing!
Oh, it's fantastic!
I don't know what to say!
The chair, which has been in the middle of the room and causing problems,
now has its proper place and it's somewhere that you can get around,
but it's part of a whole sofa area where you can all sit together.
It's beyond my wildest dreams.
-Oh, look at that for Jack!
-Come on. I've got more to show you.
Oh, it's absolutely beautiful!
It really is!
Oh, table and chairs!
That's all I've ever dreamed of is a table and chairs.
Why is a table and chairs so important?
Because we've... For the last year, we've never sat around the table together.
And we've just missed it. We're always living off trays, sitting in the lounge,
so this is just going to be absolutely amazing.
And now we've got a wide door now to get Jack through,
we just can all sit round the table together.
What a house!
What a home!
Oh, look at this!
Oh, love him!
Oh, he's going to love this. He'll love it.
Oh, look at this!
He can wheel himself in here or walk in here, whatever.
Wet room shower room. Now if I just push this button here.
Remote control system. It has sensors on it, it knows when it's being sat on.
It flushes for him, it cleans him, it dries him.
-He can do all this himself.
He's going to be absolutely over the moon.
-Now, you said to me the other day
-you hadn't had a bath in a year.
-And we didn't want to say anything, obviously, cos it's...
-I have had a shower.
Let's go and have a look upstairs.
Oh! Look at this!
So at the end of a long day,
you can leave them down in their area.
If you want to get away, come up here, have a nice, long bath.
Oh, it's absolutely lovely!
-Look at it all!
-Come on, we haven't finished yet.
Will this do?
I asked you the other day
if you could imagine family life being different and you said no.
-What about now?
This is totally life-changing for us, honestly.
-Are you excited to see the boys see it?
Oh, gosh, yeah. They're just going to be blown away.
They're just coming down the road. Do you want to come and meet them?
-We'll meet 'em out the front.
-I'd love too.
Whose house are we at?
-Doesn't even look like the same house.
-No, it's not, trust me.
And now finally, for the first time in years,
Jack gets to go in his own front door.
-Oh, my God!
-Oh, my God!
-This is amazing!
It's out of this world!
Oh, my God!
-Look at the photos on the wall, Jack.
-Oh! Oh, my God!
-Aren't they're lovely?
-Your bedroom, Jack.
-Oh, my God!
What do you think?
-That's no good for us.
-No, I know. It's nice.
OK, a few key things. Bed...so that if you get uncomfortable,
sitting up, turning, rolling over,
you can do all that from the remote control. And this is cool, too.
When you go to sleep at night, press this one.
-MOTOR WHIRS QUIETLY
-Oh, flipping 'ell!
-He's never going to get up again.
-I'll never come out of this room.
And when you get up in the morning...
-There's a door at the end.
-It's a cupboard, is it?
-You're going to have to go and see, aren't you?
-I think so.
-Go on, then.
-Oh, my God!
-What do you reckon, then?
Mirror up there links to your Bluetooth on your phone,
it'll play all the music on your phone when you come into the bathroom.
And it puts on a bit of a light show as well.
-I can have a party in my bathroom.
Shower. Low-level shower, high-level shower.
So all you do is press the button here and then it starts.
Wet room by the way, so the water just runs on the floor.
We wanted to give you somewhere where you
could have your own independence as you go through your teenage years,
-this is kind of it.
It's absolutely amazing!
Jack deserves everything...he got,
he's been through hell for the last few years, but so do you as well.
They don't even know we've touched the garden.
Out you come.
I didn't see that.
-This is Mum's place.
Cup of tea here, obviously, but I'm sure that's going to suddenly change into a glass of wine.
Chance for you to sit down here. This is your area down here.
This, boys, up here is your area.
That's not just a garden shed.
Make your way towards that.
This is nice.
-Yeah. The drums are set up there. Make all the noise you like,
because once you close the window and door...soundproof.
-When the football's on...48" screen.
If you've got that independence, are we going to be able to get the brothers back together?
-Not going to get rid of him now.
It's like a brand-new build, isn't it?
Is that all right? Cos obviously, you know, it was your home,
-it was where you lived and this is kind of...
-Oh, this is better.
-You like it?
-I love it.
-Happy to invite your mates round somewhere like this?
-Oh, yeah definitely. 100%.
You'll find that the floor is flat all the way from the front door,
so you can get up the ramp, in through the front door, all the way through the house right to the back.
-Awesome. We haven't been able to do that before, have we?
-No. That's what we were saying,
when was the last time you came through the front door, lovely?
We haven't since you've had that wheelchair.
-Jack...listen to me...
..you deserve all this for everything you've been through.
-What did you tell me last night?
New beginnings, yeah?
-You all right?
-Ready for the next bit?
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Thank you will never...ever be enough,
it's so life-changing for us.
We've had a really tough few years, especially my little hero here.
I'll never forget any of you, I'll always remember you.
And I'm very, very proud to be part of this community.
-And you're all welcome to visit, but not together.
A few weeks ago, I was sleeping in the middle of the lounge
and I had no space to move at all.
And looking at the house now...I'm just speechless.
So I just want to say thank you, all of you,
and I wish...I wish whoever you help next has the same.
-Well done, Jack.
Emotional. I don't know how he can do it.
I've got a little tear. But at the end of the day, like I said before, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
-I'm Dean. This is Dai.
-We done the ramp for you.
-And the sense of togetherness to me is absolutely amazing.
You know, strangely this family remind me of a three-legged stool,
they kind of lean on each other, they support each other, they hold each other up in bad times.
And the house bears that analogy as well, cos a three-legged stool is the minimum you possibly need.
And you can't live life like that. So these guys decided to change it and they have.
Now a mum, who's faced an uphill battle of 14 years,
gets some respite, somewhere to recharge her batteries.
Eldest son Daniel gets his little brother back,
and gets to be at home, and they've got space to be together.
And Jack himself, going through his teenage years, he gets independence,
dignity and a very cool place to have his mates round.
Maybe you know somebody who needs your help.
We're always looking for people to help,
but we're especially eager to hear from elderly people
who desperately need a big build.
You can contact us at...
-Every single one of 'em.
-Oh, no, amazing. Thank you so much.
-I'm so pleased for you.
-Thank you very much.
-It's been an absolute pleasure.
I'm Tony. I did a lot of the painting.
-Is that good?
-Oh, thank you.
-That's really good.
-You OK, madam?
-I don't know what to say.
15-year-old Jack Morris was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, which has led to a lifetime of painful operations. His mother Helen has always been his rock and his elder brother Daniel his best friend.
But as Jack grows into a man, it has been impossible for Helen to get him upstairs and he is forced to sleep in the living room of their small three-bedroom semi in Swansea. With no other social space in the house, Daniel rarely brings his mates round and they spend less time together as a family.
So Nick and the boys, with designer Gabrielle Blackman, take on the challenge of turning the house into somewhere for Jack to grow into a man with dignity, a place to give Helen sanctuary and to reunite two amazing brothers.