PC Kris was a victim of the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge in London, and his north London home is now inaccessible. DIY SOS helps this injured officer get home.
Browse content similar to The Big Build - Barnet. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
-We are in Westminster, where a terror attack
on the very heart of British democracy left five
people dead and parliament in lockdown.
-Five people died and 40 people were injured,
some of them suffering catastrophic injuries.
The Metropolitan Police are telling us three of their police officers
injured, two seriously.
One of those policemen rushed to hospital
after being hit by the speeding car was Kris Aves.
The attack left Kris paralysed.
Seven months later, he is still in hospital, away from his family.
I'm worried about getting daddy time back.
You know, it's just been taken away from you.
And it's not fair.
Kris is ready to leave hospital and go home,
but he can't because his house isn't accessible to a wheelchair.
I need to rebuild a relationship with my family.
It has been too long.
Well, that is what WE are going to help Kris do.
These amazing volunteers will be pulling their weight.
Literally working themselves into the ground...
We are resting him.
..to bring Kris home to his family, where he belongs.
We wanted to give back to the people that protect us, you know?
We have just nine days to do the job.
All the usual suspects are here.
Our designer this week is the wonderful Gabrielle Blackman.
And I'm not even going to pretend we had to find an army.
Because the moment people knew what we were doing,
we had the biggest response ever. So let's get started.
This is DIY SOS: The Big Build!
Kris Aves and his partner, Marissa Cooney, have been together for eight years.
She used to work with my sister and I was out and about and
we were both single at the time and started having a few drinks,
-a few chats.
-I first met him at his sister's wedding.
He did the full Monty with some of his cousins.
I think they had some trays or something to spare their modesty,
so I'm kind of glad I missed that.
-I didn't see it.
-I like to have a little bit of fun,
play a few little tricks on people.
They're all Essex boys, aren't they, so...
-They're all kind of jokers, really.
Also, I like to organise, as well.
Like, Christmas parties, birthday parties and make sure people get involved.
He is, he's kind, caring, and bubbly.
After 18 months together and just after his 30th birthday,
Kris got the best present anyone could wish for - son Thomas.
When daughter Aoife came along two years later,
life couldn't have been better.
Little girl, little boy, I'm done.
I've hit the nail on the head.
I've won the lottery. I've got Marissa, I've got Thomas, I've got Aoife.
They'd got the family, a new home,
and Kris had a steady job in the police force.
Quite the contrast from his younger days as a holiday rep.
I think from what I did before,
I realised that I needed to do something to help people.
It's really hard, it's long hours,
but I would fully recommend it to anybody.
In March 2017,
Kris received a commendation for his exceptional work as a police liaison
officer. The ceremony was held at the Met police headquarters near the
Houses of Parliament. Kris' colleague, PC Roger Smith,
was also up for an award.
We managed to get out onto the balcony.
It is quite a nice view there because you've got the Eye
and you've got Big Ben down there.
You can actually see Westminster Bridge from where you are.
We received an award,
had photos taken, tea and coffee, handshakes...
..and then we decided that we may go and celebrate.
We'd actually got onto the other side of the road
and Kris realised he had forgot his umbrella.
And I literally turned round and said,
"Do you know what? I can get it tomorrow.
"I can ring someone, they can pick it up for me...
"..I can go and collect it another time."
And that's the last memory I have of the day.
It was a fateful decision.
We were nearly halfway across the bridge.
The only bit I can remember is the set of headlights coming towards us,
hitting us and being moved really rapidly.
The day that had started out in celebration had turned to horror.
It was just absolute chaos. There were people everywhere.
There was a water drain off across the bridge and that was just full of blood.
I was at work.
I'd heard on the news that there was something going on.
About three minutes later, I got a call from his boss that he was injured.
I was shocked, really, but as far as they knew,
it was a broken leg and a possible broken arm.
So, actually, in some ways, shock and a bit numb,
but relief, as well, because it didn't sound too serious and he was alive.
The next memory I have was about eight days later,
waking up in King's College with a tube down my throat.
And...my body covered in sheets and plasters
and buzzers and wires, etc.
Kris had taken the full impact of the vehicle.
He had broken both legs,
had multiple head injuries and a damaged elbow and shoulder.
But that wasn't the worst of it.
I dislocated my vertebrae, which damaged my spinal cord.
Because of that, my legs don't work.
Kris has been in hospital ever since the incident,
separated from his family for nearly seven months.
The kids just ask a lot of questions about stuff and about,
"Well, why did daddy get hit?
"Was he not looking when he crossed the road?"
Things like that. And it is quite hard to answer.
Being in a wheelchair is really hard.
To be able to get home would mean the world to me.
I need to rebuild a relationship with my family.
For them to be without...
For my kids to be without a dad, really,
I'm not going to say that they forget about me,
but they have definitely missed a big part of their growing up with a dad.
And I'm ready to sleep in my own bed.
It has been too long.
But the house no longer works for Kris now he's in a wheelchair.
The front step, just to get in, is a massive obstacle.
The doorways are too narrow for a wheelchair.
There is just no way he can get upstairs to put the kids to bed.
And the garden is totally out of bounds.
Without big changes, Kris can't get home.
He has been here for sort of a day or something,
obviously couldn't stay overnight.
Was it apparent on that one visit home how difficult it was going to be to move around the house?
Yeah. He struggles to get in the house.
Even though we sort of built temporary ramps and stuff to get him in.
He wasn't able to do it by himself.
He still needed help on the ramps because they were too steep and things
-So this part where it sort of kinked, was...
..we had to sort of really manoeuvre to get in and it was sort of just squeezing in,
sort of trying to put his hands on the top of the wheels.
As much as what we are doing is obviously going to benefit in terms
of getting him home, but it is another change, isn't it?
I mean, from...
That's a lot of adjustments to make, isn't it?
It needs to work for him, but we don't want it to look like anything
other than a normal home as much as possible.
And there's a place where we can sort of go into and shut a door
and it would let us be a family again, the four of us,
without needing everyone's help to get him in, get him out.
-Shall we go and meet some of the builders?
One of the things that I probably ought to say,
I'm going to say on your behalf, is that they were very happily getting the house
to the point that they actually wanted it to be.
We are now having to take apart that house, obviously because of circumstances.
There are so many adjustments to make all in one go, aren't there?
Yeah. It needs to be wheelchair accessible for Kris so that we can just do
normal family things and, yeah, he can get to the children everywhere in the house,
and just get to be a dad again.
A massive thank you. For all your time and everything.
Listen up, Kris sent us a message, so I wondered if you'd like to listen in.
First of all, I just want to say thank you for taking this opportunity to
look after my house. But that's the polite side.
Now all I want to say is, behave yourselves, no jokes,
do not mess this up!
-All the best. See you soon.
He is such a top lad, honestly.
And I am really excited about getting him home.
We have had such an overwhelming response for this one.
We have actually had to turn volunteers away.
But unfortunately, there are some people on the site we just can't get rid of.
-What are your tablets for?
-I had a bout o' gout.
-Bout o' gout.
-He went to the doctors and the doctor gave him some
tablets he's got to take for the rest of his life.
-One a day.
-Only gave him a pack of 28!
Yeah, I know!
But I've cut them in half, so I take half a day.
Hopefully, I'll be there for 56 days.
The general plan here is to tweak the layout of the house and the outside space
to make it wheelchair friendly, and get Kris back where he belongs.
But the big feature for us in this build is a lift,
and we have never done one like this before.
We can't put a lift inside. There just isn't the room.
So we are actually building a lift column on the outside of the building
and then punching in to the side of the house.
Ground floor, first floor and up in the loft.
Even though Mark seems to have got his car around the back here,
we have got a slightly bigger problem.
We can't get the digger past the scaffolding.
Have a look.
He has got an idea, though, which is always worrying.
Believe it or not, we are going to bring a digger through the house.
Excuse me, you have to ring the doorbell before you come in this house.
-HE BEEPS HORN
-All right, in you come!
I've never seen a digger going through a house before.
VOICEOVER: That's not good, is it?
Did you not want a digger in here?
-It's all mendable, isn't it? Look...
We have the man here who is going to make that as if nothing ever happened.
-You've got to break a few eggs to make some omelettes, haven't you?
VOICEOVER: And at this rate,
everyone on site will be having omelettes for lunch.
Although we're smashing the place up a bit,
were actually recycling a lot of what was already here.
We will lay new hard-wearing floors to cope with Kris's wheelchair,
so this one going elsewhere.
And we are saving the doors, too,
as making the doorways work for Kris is so important on this build.
This here, at the moment,
is too narrow. It is too narrow to get a wheelchair through.
So we will take the door out to about that width,
so he will be able to get into every room on every floor.
-Let's talk about the house, shall we?
We are trying to do the minimal changes in the layout to get the
maximum impact for Kris.
And really emphasise what he CAN do, not what he can't do.
-So we want to bring him home to do all the stuff he did before.
Make tea, put the kids to bed.
Just get him back and get normality back.
But to do that, unfortunately, we do have to move a few walls around.
We have now had to make this room a lot smaller because of
where the lift strikes and the turning circles.
But what I try to do is with every compromise we have to make because
of accessibility, we add something beautiful and something to change the way you look at a room.
In actual fact, because of the lack of structural work that we are doing,
although it doesn't look it at the moment in here,
but this should actually give more time for you to do the design and go
to town on the design in a magnificent way.
Magnificence obviously will be happening.
-But I can't say...
You know, there is a lot of work to do before we get to magnificent o'clock.
It is crucial for Kris to be able to get around the entire house.
Especially upstairs in the kids' bedrooms, so he can carry out
all the daddy duties he's so missed.
On the ground floor here,
we'll install a bespoke kitchen and adapt a space
to include a new wet room and handy utility room.
Upstairs, we'll maximise floor space by building a wall of storage in
the master bed. And we will move the wall slightly to allow for Kris's
turning circle out of the lift.
And on the top floor, the spare room and shower room will be reconfigured
to allow access for the most impressive part of this build,
the amazing lift.
This will get Kris to every room in the house,
allowing him to be part of regular family life once more.
We are double banquette-ing in this room.
One there, one there, so we can still have the dining space,
sitting space. And it's all going to be fabulous.
-Why are you laughing?
-Is it my coat again?
-No, it is not the coat.
Double banquette is quite funny, isn't it?
-You're not laughing at banquette?
-A little bit.
Double banquette is even funnier, surely?
I'm surrounded by barbarians.
Yes, but smiley barbarians. It is funny.
So Gaby's idea was to ever-so-slightly play with the layout.
Just nudge things around a little bit to make room for the lift.
She makes it sound like a renovation with a small r, doesn't she?
Erm, you might not want to go upstairs for a bit, Gabs...
Out the back,
we are also rejigging things a bit so Kris can get around freely and
join the kids when they are out playing.
Taking care of that side of things,
we have our garden designer Mia and our Jules.
The decking coming out and then becoming a resin bound, curved,
one to 12 grading going down to what will we we're turning into a
-Did we just say we're turning the shed into a hunter's lodge?
The comparisons between the sweeping plains of the Serengeti and the
urban sprawl of North London aren't obvious, but use your imagination.
So, the grown-ups will have the posh shed to relax in,
there will be play space for the kids, and the chickens needn't flap
as they will be getting a new look coop, too.
We have had a couple of firsts already today.
A digger through the house was a new one on me, as is the track saw.
You see that bit of kit?
It is going to cut a line straight down.
But what is worrying is he told me you marked it out.
So I said, check your measurements. It will be 100 mil out.
Well, they will. They will. They always are.
There's a lot of important things the other side of that wall.
You know, like stairs and electrics and people.
Let's hope Mark has got his measurements right.
So, the room used to come to here.
The wall was in here. And we have had to shorten it because the lift
is going to punch through here and you have a small turning space here on the landing.
So we've reduced that bedroom, made that one slightly smaller,
which is a bit of a pay-off, a bit of a disappointment in that respect,
but it does mean now that Kris will be able to get up here and will be
able to go into the bedroom to read a story.
You can see that we are making the doors extra wide.
So there's wide doors.
He will be able to move around and then get back in the lift and even go to the top floor.
The jobs are actually starting to mount up.
The boys are struggling with a stump at the moment.
It is like extracting a big tooth.
Because we're not doing a lot upstairs, we don't really need this here.
Right. So, is it insurance?
-No, it's needed and more.
So, here, as you can see, we have taken everything apart.
This was the master bedroom but it was much smaller and really
cluttered with storage. So again, when you are talking about accessibility,
you want everything off the floor, the floor needs to be maximised.
So we have created a section, a big storage wall here.
Then we are moving...
Thomas's room has become a little bit smaller,
but it is still a great room. It is still a double bedroom.
The track saw has done its bit and the house now has considerably less
bricks than it used to.
But did Mark get his measurements right?
-I think we might have just scored ourselves a hat-trick of firsts.
As ever, we've got a bucket-load of builders and hundreds of helping hands
all working together to get Kris home to his family.
This lot became mates with Kris at the school gates when he set up a dads' club.
Kris, in his wisdom,
realised that all the mums were going out way too much and he just started
drinking sessions, curries.
He's a force of nature, isn't he?
We all went up to him one night and went up to the hospital and...
He took over the cricket club!
All the staff knew him, so he has obviously been there a few times.
They knew him well.
So, you have come along to shovel and carry and do whatever is needed, is that right?
When something terrible has happened,
you feel a bit helpless and you can't do anything.
Here, we can actually do something and hopefully it is going to make
things a little bit better for him.
Well, the lift will make a massive difference.
We have got a couple of days before it arrives,
so plenty of time to suss it all out.
Haven't we, Mark?
The lift has arrived. I didn't realise it was coming today because
I thought it was being fitted on Friday.
People think we make this up as we go along.
I'm starting to think we make this up as we go along.
It is the first in the country and it has come all the way from Sweden. And it's one hell of a flat pack.
You're not going to put together with one of those tiny Allen keys!
No, we're going to put it together with a very tiny builder.
So, it has arrived two days early, as have the fitters.
And they've come a long way, too. All the way from Yorkshire?
-Only to find out that he booked you on the wrong day.
-I don't think it was Mark...
-Hold on a minute!
Don't start that. Thank you very much.
Do you remember the bit where Gaby said we were going to make
minimum mess for maximum impact?
Well, that's not quite going to plan, either.
Cos of the door changes, we have got to just move all the mains.
There are a few problems on the way of how it has been wired.
And the only way we can get around to it is to actually re-do it.
There is a problem in the attic, too.
The ceiling up there is lower than the rest, and too low for the lift door to open.
You might have to lose a bit of this and come in.
Might as well take the roof off, eh, Gabs?
This is the one room that was going to be OK!
We've touched every bit of the house and we keep on having to unpick it.
So, it has become a really big build.
Well, it's been an interesting day because we were determined that
we weren't going to make too much of a mess of the house and try and keep everything in place.
As you can see, that hasn't exactly gone according to plan.
We have indeed taken down an enormous number of walls,
we've started digging holes in the ceiling.
In fact, it's a bit of a mess, to be honest!
As you can see, we've dug a small trench in the hallway.
These are all new walls. We weren't going to put much in, but we decided to put a little bit in here.
To be fair, it's kind of got away from us today,
but through no fault of our own.
And we are ploughing on and getting on top of it,
and tomorrow's going to be a much better day again. I'm sure of it.
Kris has been here in Stoke Mandeville Hospital for the past
seven months. Physically, he's ready to go home.
My physios here have been working round the clock with me,
getting me exercising,
stretching, assisted walking, which has been amazing.
It really has.
Emotionally, I'm definitely ready for home.
Kris hasn't had proper family time at home since he was rushed into hospital.
To see the upstairs in my house...
..I can't explain what it means.
It's, like, my kids' bedrooms are upstairs.
All their toys are upstairs.
So, they spend half their time up there.
Kris has a lot of daddy time to claw back, especially with son Thomas.
We had a few complications with Thomas.
He had a heart issue, and he spent about six and a half months in
Great Ormond Street, so we didn't get to spend the first, probably,
year with him doing what parents do.
I know now, as he's growing older,
it will be a lot of getting yourself in the garden,
kicking a football about.
My little girl as well, it makes me sad when I think forward...
..that I won't be able to get up and do it with them.
There will be other things. You know, you can go to the cinema.
Yeah, that's easy. But to go swimming,
I don't know how I'm going to be in a pool in a fun session with them.
I won't be able to stand up and kick a football with them.
And I kind of just feel...
..you know, it's just been taken away from you.
And it's not fair.
Day two, the sun is shining and the place is already a hive of activity.
Billy's on absolutely cracking form.
He's gone straight through the heating pipe.
So, he's depressurised the full system,
and emptied the whole tank onto the floor.
I was trying to come up from beneath.
And I believed this wall was in...
This wall was in line with the wall downstairs.
But it weren't.
So, instead of coming up where I thought I was coming up in there,
I've come up in the middle of the bathroom.
But, unfortunately, I've just caught
the pipe. Just, just.
He's not coming anywhere near my garden. Don't let him out here.
But this floor's coming up, so it's helped them, anyhow, really, to get the floor up earlier.
Yeah, One Pipe Burnsy, we call him.
He goes through one a week.
The only ups and downs we need on-site today are from these boys with the lift.
And with Billy well out of the way, Jules can safely crack on.
We're just screwing some handles to the shed to be able to pick it up
and manually move it. But it's proving to be quite heavy.
-Oh, Daily Mirror in the skip.
-"After 60 years, I quit, says Nick Knowles."
-Stand aside, everyone. We'll do it.
-Come on then, girls.
Lovely, well done...
POSH VOICE: Birmingham 3-2 West Ham.
Darling, I hate to interrupt,
but could they deliver all these build materials?
Gillingham 1-0 Doncaster.
Wahey! It's finished!
And in case you were wondering, Southampton 5-0 Derby.
Jolly good show, Saints!
Lots of people are related in here,
like the digger driver's related to the bloke who's doing the thing over there, who is related to...
-I'm related to Kris.
-Oh, are you?
-He's my cousin.
-Who are you working with?
This guy here, Lewis, he's my other cousin.
-Yeah, family affair, then?
As a family, when you see this turn up,
and know this is being done for one of your own, it must be quite moving,
-I would've thought.
-Erm, talking to you now,
I'm finding it hard, trying to keep it in.
But it's... I don't know.
Because the community have turned up?
Cos everybody's turned up, everyone's so helpful,
they're on your side, do you know what I mean?
-Everyone's together to help Kris and Marissa.
It's amazing what people are doing.
Yes, they're an amazing bunch, even though some are slightly terrifying.
Look, there's a Viking there.
A man so mighty, he laughs in the face of power tools.
-You got any other skills?
Viking see rock, Viking smash rock.
He's a real Viking.
When Kris came home for the day,
the smallest of steps became a massive obstacle,
so we need to make a seamless path to the front door.
And there's a bit more recycling here,
as we'll use the old crazy paving as hard-core for the new resin path.
Oh, look. Concrete.
-Yes, that's it, that's it.
We went to lunch the other day and, as we were walking down the road,
going down the high street was this company.
And I said, write this down, he said, "I haven't got a pen."
You radioed the number through saying,
"I think we might have found someone to supply us with some concrete."
That's the kind of attitude we've had from everybody in the area,
isn't it, when we go, "Can we have...?"
They're like, "Yeah, straight away, on its way, don't worry about it."
Without such positive attitudes from trades,
these builds just wouldn't be possible.
Many of Kris's colleagues have also given up their free time to help out.
Superintendent Dawn Morris was presenting the award to Kris just before the attack.
Having a lovely laugh afterwards over a cup of tea, exactly like this.
And then when it finished, they left, as did everyone else.
Very suddenly you could hear sirens, noise, commotion,
phone calls started to go in to say that this dreadful attack had happened.
So, myself and colleagues jumped in a car and drove quickly over to our
special operations room and started standing up the command to arrange
and coordinate the response.
How does that feel, though, when you're in the middle of doing such
an important job, and you suddenly realise that somebody you've just been talking to
is caught up in it? Because there must be a point where you found out.
Yeah. Erm... You've somehow got to put your own emotions to one side
and carry on doing what it is we are there to do.
And it's massively important that we get it right down there.
Look at the response here. You've had a walk round.
-What do you make of it?
-Oh, it's absolutely amazing.
Just... The atmosphere is fantastic.
We, unfortunately, don't always deal with all of the nice aspects of
community, and this is a wonderful reminder of how communities should work.
Isn't it fantastic that we have people like Dawn and Kris and all their
colleagues to help look after us, day in, day out?
Right, back on the build, there's problems.
There is an integral part of the lift missing,
and that's the rings that go round the lift that pin it to the building.
They haven't arrived.
This is yet another setback for our friends from the north.
We're going to use that scaffolding temporary for now.
Till the hoops arrive.
Otherwise, there's nothing we can do.
But these brilliant guys are happy to stay another couple of days,
as they are aware how important it is to get this done and reunite this family.
It's impossible to know how anyone would cope in a situation like Kris
and Marissa's, where life has been turned upside down by such sudden
For you it must have felt like you had been shot out of a cannon,
seven months ago, you know, because there's so much to deal with.
It was overwhelming. It was just surreal.
I didn't really know...
What was the toughest point, do you think?
Not seeing him before he had surgery,
cos I'd missed him by a few minutes.
And waiting for him to come round.
Did you talk to him whilst you were waiting?
Yeah. Yeah. Don't know what about, actually.
I felt silly talking to him at first,
but then they tell you to keep reminding them where they are and what's happened,
if they can hear you. We kind of did that quite a lot.
Who are you most upset for, him or the kids?
And upset for the kids, too, but they're young enough to, I think,
adapt to that, whereas, yeah, I think it's tough for Kris.
Just the things that he won't be able to two that you take the granted before.
We'd go out and do something, cinema, whatever, and then
he has to go back and we... And you start calling hospital home.
You know, "You're going home, what time are you going home?"
-Things like that.
-Yeah, that's not right, is it?
Do you have a vision of the future? Do you have a hope of how things will be?
It was kind of a running joke while he was in hospital about he had six
months before he had to be back and making the tea and toast.
So, yeah, he wants to be able to do things.
He wants to be able to do dinner and stuff.
He wants to be able to, you know, look after the kids.
I think at this point he's just lacking in confidence about doing things on his own.
And it's very early days, really. It's a lot to get used to, a lot to...
-Yeah. It will come.
-Find new ways of doing everything.
People would fall apart in this situation, and I think a lot of us would.
I think I would. And he hasn't, and he really has...
..held it together and got on with it and I think that makes everyone around him feel OK.
In a few days' time, after being away for seven months,
having walked out the door that morning, he'll be coming home.
Yeah. It's been a long time coming.
Well, there won't be long now.
We're halfway through and the place is starting
to look like a house again.
-Have you enjoyed it?
-Yes, very much.
And we've got a princess with us.
Here it is, our princess.
Lovely, isn't it? Lovely to see it all happening.
You know, they're like a load of ants
building an ants' nest.
Good job, too, as the big push today is going to be in the garden.
The resin path is being laid this afternoon,
but we've got the small matter of a lawn to lay, decking to deck,
sheds to pin, but about 500 barrows of topsoil to get through first.
At least the neighbours are on our side.
-Listen, you're next-door neighbours here and I just wanted to say thank you very much.
-Not at all.
-Anything we can do to help.
-He's such a lovely fella.
-Anything we can do to help.
Really? What do you think about all these guys that have turned up?
Bearing in mind none of these are earning any money.
I think it's absolutely fantastic.
Every time they go past the window, they smile, it's really nice.
Do you know, I haven't heard a swear word yet.
No, we don't have that kind of thing.
Don't have that kind of thing on our sites.
A little group hug.
Thank you very much.
Tell them how we know each other, young man?
You used to play with my old man.
-You know my grandad.
-Yeah. Fred, his grandad.
-You used to coach his grandad at football, did you?
His dad. There's another generation.
His dad, Pat...
Hi, Pat. ..who used to play football with me.
And he was a great footballer. A great little winger.
What did he say about my talent?
He said you were a good "little" footballer.
Hey, guess what, the hoops have arrived, the hoops have arrived!
Ah, now that's very, very good. They're quite important those bits.
They fix the lift to the house.
Should have arrived at eight o'clock on Wednesday. It's now Friday.
Better late than never!
The lift is going to get Kris up to the rooms
where Thomas and Aoife spend so much of their time,
and back into the routine of being a dad.
-Floor two, doors opening.
-How are doing, sir?
-What are you building for us?
Sliding wardrobes. Got a lovely pull-down rail.
-Ideal for him, obviously.
It enables him to pull the rail down with ease.
Terrific stuff. Thank you very much.
But bringing a man back home to his family after seven months
is something we can all see is important.
I didn't see my kids for the first four days doing this,
because of the early starts and late nights.
That was bad enough. Several months, I can't imagine it.
We wanted to give back to the people that protect us, you know.
That, for me, was where it hit home, you know.
We wanted to be part of that.
I couldn't agree more.
Out in the garden there's a Flintstones vibe going on with all
the block work, complete with a couple of dinosaurs.
Welcome to Jurassic Spark.
You're very similar age, apparently.
67, he told me.
-What's your date of birth?
-Fifth of the first.
Can you believe that?
I'm third of the first.
I'm two days older and how many years?
134 years between us.
It has been a sterling effort.
This lot really have worked themselves into the ground over the past few days.
I mean literally.
He wouldn't move out of the way, for the hard-core coming in,
so we'll get him out at lunchtime.
We're resting him.
Come on, let's go, let's go, let's go.
With the scaffold down, it should be a bit easier to get the digger out
than it was getting it in.
I could get a bus through there, mate.
These smiley, happy trades are working wonders.
They're just an ordinary bunch of people,
but Kris's mum Julia knows what an extraordinary difference
their help will make.
So, where were you when you heard the news?
I was at work. I work in a school.
We didn't know exactly what had happened.
We knew that he'd been injured, but not how severely.
Then you're standing there in the hospital and looking at your little
boy? He might be six-foot something, but he's...
No, he is still my young baby, yeah.
He is still my youngest and...
..and that was hard.
But the nurses, the doctors, were absolutely amazing.
And then, as soon as he woke up, he started talking.
Cracking jokes, teasing people.
That's his whole attitude. That is how he always has been through life,
-ever since he was little.
-You know, I'm trying to think...
Put in my mind my youngsters.
I can't even begin to imagine what that feels like.
I think the thing is, I can't change things.
I cannot change things.
I would rather channel my energies into doing something for him.
That's what these people are doing. They've come from all over the country to do it.
-And he will be able to get to all the parts of the house.
-And garden. Just don't tell him.
I won't. I won't.
Yeah, you will. If Marissa puts the thumbscrews on you.
I'll tell him he's in a shed in the back garden.
We don't deal in sheds here, Julia,
only posh lodges.
About a billion barrows later, the garden is ready for the resin
pathway and I reckon our volunteers have earned themselves a rest.
Yeah, maybe not him, though.
Look at them. You could make a calendar, couldn't you?
-Mr May on the right.
Mr Definitely Would in the middle.
Which month would you like to be, sir?
June me, June.
Because he's a little ray of sunshine, that's why.
It's the tireless efforts of this lot working day and night who will
make this house work again for Kris and looks like it's going to be
another late one.
Do you remember the first time you were aware how serious...
Did you wake up and think what the hell's going on?
I don't really remember that.
I remember obviously having a tube down my throat and this,
that and everything.
But they didn't want to overload me with information
about how serious my injuries were.
The first person who was there when I opened my eyes was Marissa, which,
She's an extraordinary woman and has had to deal with
an extraordinary amount in the last few months.
I feel guilty,
a little bit.
Just being here, in here so long.
She's been a single mum for all those months.
How do you now, in retrospect,
feel about the incident and the person that did this?
-I don't think about it.
-Do you not?
No, not one bit. I think if I was to think back about it...
..I would think about...
..PC Keith Palmer...
..and the numerous people who also got injured on the bridge.
I'd feel for those people.
You managed to get home for a day.
Yeah, yeah. I got to see the house from the downstairs.
But just being in my house...
It's kind of changed already.
It just felt different.
I just... That whole day-to-day
of getting up, getting showered, getting dressed,
having your breakfast.
That structure of my life's been taken out.
And instead, I've now got... I wake up,
I sometimes have to pull a red chord for a nurse to come
and help me get out of bed.
And how do you feel about the fact that we've come to help you in
-How do I feel? Over the moon.
What are you most looking forward to?
Having a full day with my kids.
The big, big thing of mine is going to be putting them to bed, as well.
Being able to get upstairs and tuck them in at night.
Well, that's what we're all working towards.
We've got just two days to go,
but it seems the weather gods have stopped smiling on us.
I suppose it's good news for the plants, though.
When you bend over,
your stomach pushes against your lungs and you get out of breath.
It's a good gauge of when I know I'm getting a little bit too heavy.
See? Look at that. Somebody's trying to tempt me there.
I just had a chocolate bar thrust at me.
You know, when I was a weaker man, I would have ate that.
Not any more.
We won't show you him scrambling around in the skip...
Oh, there it is!
-This is the poshest...
..chicken run in...
Come and talk me through this.
Warm and happy chickens lay more eggs.
Yes, he is the result of a very nasty experiment in the '60s.
We've just got one more day to get the job done and everyone's pulling
together to get the house finished.
The power of community spirit is something decorator John knows only too well.
A friend of my wife is a friend of Kris.
It's a shame what happened to him.
There's a lot of good people in the world who will help him out.
My nephew got murdered back in 2008.
It was tragic.
I see all the community get together and help the family out
as best they could. It was nice.
Community spirit. There's not much of that about today, is there?
But there is bundles here.
John and the other decorators are doing a sterling job,
but there's been a banquette bombshell in the kitchen.
Have you seen Carl?
The banquette was going to be made off-site, and then it wasn't made off-site,
and we need to finish everything. It needs to be done today
and words are sort of coming out all wrong because I'm now in a massive panic.
So, this... And we can't put anything else here,
because Kris's turning circle has all been measured out and we had to
have a seating area there, and it cannot be off-the-shelf,
it's got to be bespoke. This is the exact situation I was really
hoping not to be in right now.
I'm under instruction.
-Oh, are you?
-This is not my job.
This is not your job. What is your job?
I work in the control room, police control room.
-Oh, do you?
OK. Were you there the day that Kris had his incident?
I was. I was on duty.
We took the first call, so it came into our major incident room.
And did you know him already?
-But you've decided to come down and be a decorator for today?
Yes. I was, erm...
When I was eight, my dad had an accident whilst at work, on the job,
as well. He was a policeman.
-And he was left in a wheelchair for a couple of years,
or a year, while I was growing up.
So, I know what the kids and I know what his wife will be going through.
How did you feel when you heard we were coming to do this
and it was somebody you'd obviously been involved with at the time?
I had to come.
And so many people feel that.
It's heart-warming how many with their own awful experiences can
turn that into a positive thing for others.
With the time fast approaching magnificent o'clock, worktops are
going in, and that's usually a sign that we are nearly finished.
God, it's here!
But Gaby's still stressed out.
Always got to keep a cool head.
When he's not making emergency banquettes, he's driving lifeboats,
so that's fine. We'll be all right now.
-You've got nothing to worry about.
-I do have lots to worry about,
I just haven't revealed all my worries to you, because...
You see, I can't speak then.
You can't. You have gone a little bit that way today.
Because... GARBLED SPEECH
You've been doing that a little bit today.
It's my mental in-tray is at maximum capacity.
-Which is not hard to do.
-You better get it, better get on, I think.
GARBLED SPEECH You're never going to get it done.
And that's how you help a designer make her feel happy when the furniture's arriving.
-What's the matter?
-What is the problem?
Headboards won't go upstairs. So, do we cut the headboards down?
No, we don't cut the headboards down.
-We can sand them down a bit.
She's not getting any calmer, is she?
This is like a rule one of the Muppets School of Interior Design -
measure things before you try and get them...
-Oh, it's so nearly there.
Keep going, keep going, keep going up.
Oh, dear, oh, dear.
Now we've got to repair the ceiling.
All right, wait. Come down and then we'll whack it up into that corner.
Oh, my God.
Just a little bit of filler and it'll be as good as new.
-They're going to lynch me.
I've just slipped and I've put my fist and my foot through the headboards.
Sorry, it was an accident.
Accidents happen, apparently.
I can see he's angry even just from his hand.
Just getting the mattress up now.
Could I just point out my colleague's dress sense?
Look at this here. She's a high-end designer, this lady, look.
You don't understand what I've put together here.
Nobody wears two overshoes any more.
Come on, everybody in the house, if you're not working, get outside!
We need it finished now!
Five, four, three, two, one, now!
He may be small, but his mouth is mighty.
Everyone here has worked like a trouper and,
through the sheer power of all these people,
it looks like we might just make it.
Seven months ago, Kris Aves was left with life-changing injuries
after the Westminster Bridge attack.
I dislocated my vertebrae, which had damaged my spinal cord.
Because of that,
my legs don't work.
Kris has been in hospital ever since,
40 miles away from his family.
I'm worried about getting daddy time back.
The kids just ask a lot of questions about stuff, and about
"Why did Daddy get hit? Was he not looking when he crossed the road?"
Things like that. And it's quite hard to answer.
Kris couldn't get home as the house just wasn't accessible any more.
I'm definitely ready for home.
It's been too long.
Hundreds of people came from near and far,
giving their time and effort to help bring him back to his family.
And, my word, did they deliver.
When we arrived nine days ago, this house was no longer a home for Kris.
But gone are the steps that stopped him
even getting through the front door.
In their place, a seamless paved driveway.
The wonky hallways have been straightened up with continuous
flooring and widened doorways,
so Kris can freely move about from the minute he gets in the house.
The living room has been transformed into a sumptuous space,
ideal for cosy nights in watching movies.
And we've created a stylish wet room and utility...
..which leads us to the new-look kitchen-diner,
a space that is sure to become the heart of the home.
The new units means that Kris will be able to cook, just like before.
And the new dining area is a perfect space to share meals, watch TV,
or just hang out together as a family.
And, of course, the state-of-the-art lift is the key to giving Kris back
his independence. He couldn't get upstairs to the rooms where the
children spend so much of their time.
But now Kris will be able to read Aoife bedtime stories
in her new den, before a kiss goodnight.
And the transformation in Thomas's room takes it into another
stratosphere. He's got a desk to do his homework.
And it's an ideal space for the daddy duties Kris has so missed
for the past seven months.
Kris is desperate to sleep in his own bed,
and now he'll be able to get upstairs and do just that.
We've moved the master bedroom walls around a bit to maximise floor space
and create a wall of storage.
Next door, we've made space in the family bathroom for Kris to bathe
the kids before bed.
And we've put an en-suite in the attic, too,
so there is now a bathroom on every floor.
And remember, Kris hasn't even been up there since it was converted.
It's now a luxurious spare room.
Outside, the steps have gone
and the patio has been built out into a high terrace.
A resin path now runs like a river of silk all the way down
to the fancy new hunter's lodge.
There's something for everyone out here.
The kids have a play area, including a play cafe,
and even the chickens have the poshest coop known to man or chicken.
It's been a long seven months, but Kris can finally come home.
I'm feeling very emotional right now.
It's all about to start - my new life in my new home.
-Look at that, look at that, look at that.
Hello, baby girl.
-A blue door.
-A blue door.
-And a driveway.
-And a driveway.
Guys, honestly, thank you.
-No, thank you.
Right, leaving just us.
-Let's go and have a look at it. Come on.
It's amazing. I love it.
I... I'm not usually lost for words.
The first thing to say is you've just wheeled yourself through your own front door without
-any difficulty at all.
Oh, my God, this room is so nice.
It's so pretty.
-It is beautiful.
-She's got a good eye, our Gaby, hasn't she?
It is super, isn't it? It really is.
-Oh, my gosh.
I love it. Everything is just so accessible for me.
On that very basis, there's your oven.
-If you want to go to the cooker, you can tuck your knees underneath.
-Wow, look at that.
It means I'll probably have to do more of the cooking.
On the other side, if come round into the dining room area.
Parquet flooring all the way through.
It's... Do you know what, it's so easy to get round.
Welcome home, Daddy.
Oh, my God!
It doesn't look anything like I imagined.
Where are my chickens?
In the largest penthouse chicken coop in the history of mankind.
Oh, there's a little swing in it.
-Look at that.
-Literally, the luckiest chickens in the world.
Aren't they just!
We've got a cafe for the kids.
-Oh, my God.
They will absolutely love that.
-It's a great little snug hideaway, isn't it?
Get your mates down there. You can put a television down here if you want to watch sport down here.
-A little bar set up, maybe.
-Don't even... I know what he's thinking already.
-A little fridge.
-You know what I'm thinking.
-A bit of a man cave.
Man cave. I love it.
Oh, my God.
-Look at this.
-Wow, that's great.
It's just going to make things so much easier.
People will never understand until they are in your position.
It's about independence and dignity, as well, isn't it?
-No more struggles.
I wasn't expecting this.
I wasn't expecting this and...
It's out of this world.
It really is.
Wow. Look at that.
I think you'll agree, that looks pretty posh.
-Doesn't it just.
-Only one of its kind anywhere in the country.
So you're now up in the loft room.
I've not been up here for a long time.
We've changed it a little bit.
-So, guest room.
-It's pretty, isn't it?
-I think we might have people staying every weekend.
-Do you think?
-There's so much to look at when you come in.
There is. You turn your head once, you turn it back again and there's something new that you haven't seen.
This was the key thing, really, wasn't it, about you being able
to get up here so you can read the kid stories and put them to bed?
Exactly that. Exactly that. That's what I've missed.
-Oh, my God.
My little girl is going to love it.
She is going to love it.
Oh, I just wish it would stay this clean and tidy.
The only difficulty for you is closing the curtains for them,
isn't it? Except...
..it isn't. If you press the down button.
First thing when you come up in the morning, press the stop button in the middle.
Everything's just been thought of and made it simple.
-Oh, my God.
I can't wait to show it to him tomorrow.
I can't wait, I really can't.
He's going to absolutely love this room.
I can't remember the last time I got to this floor.
-Probably the morning you walked out to work, I should imagine.
-It's a long time, isn't it?
-Yeah. Too long.
-Do you know, it is all right to be emotional.
I know you've been really, really strong for a really, really long time.
I think when I first got injured and I first went to hospital and Marissa
was with me, there were emotional times there, but then from...
..week whatever it was when Marissa had to become a full-time mum at home,
so she was strong,
and I was at hospital having to be strong getting rehabilitated,
trying to get better.
The emotional part maybe got missed.
I don't think it's not there, I think you've just set it aside.
You live in a bubble.
And coming back and seeing the house and how it is...
Kids' bath night is really important.
-Are you happy?
-Yes, it looks lovely.
I'm right there. I'm right there.
-Wow, it's beautiful.
-Oh, my God. I'm lost for words.
-It's really elegant.
-It looks gorgeous.
I can't wait to spend the night here.
Are you happy with what we've done?
It's... It's so, so good.
I just can't wait
to be living here again.
Who made me that "welcome home Daddy"?
-I love it.
Where am I going to sit?
You're going to sit here and I'm going to sit here.
Tom can sit there and Mummy can sit there.
Shall we go and see your bedroom?
-It is like a spaceship, isn't it?
Is this your bed?
Oh, she's even got a little doll!
Go on, Aoife.
You've got a rocket light.
I think generally a success, don't you?
-I think so.
-They seem happy.
That's a cafe.
Dad, what would you like?
-Could I have a cup of tea, please?
They are going to love it.
I'm going to leave you to enjoy this. Are you ready to meet some of the people?
-I can't wait.
-I'll go and assemble them.
You spend a little time here with your family.
Look at all these people.
Oh, my God. It's like a mini-football match.
So, these are some of the people... LAUGHTER
..who have actually been building your house for the last nine days.
Guys, from the moment I got picked up from my hospital,
it started off as a special day.
That special day just got made even better,
the moment that I went through my front door.
What do you guys have done in this house...
..has made me able to come home to my family.
I've seen rooms that I haven't seen for seven months
and all I can say is thank you very much, you've been brilliant.
-Thomas, what's your favourite bit?
We all leave our homes first thing in the morning assuming that we're going to come home safe,
but, of course, for Kris, that just wasn't the case.
Seven months of rehabilitation since the incident and he was ready to
come home, but his house couldn't accept him.
It just wasn't in a fit state.
These guys all came out to change that around, to get him home to his
family, so he could start to make up for those missing seven months.
Why? Because, in his job, he looks after us and keeps us safe.
Now they wanted to return the favour.
That is community.
On 22 March 2017, 35-year-old PC Kris was returning from a ceremony to honour officers who deal with public order issues where he was awarded for his exceptional work as a police liaison officer in the Metropolitan Police. What should have been a happy day shortly turned to horror as Kris became a victim of the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge in London.
The horrific attack left five people dead, including police officer Keith Palmer and many more with very serious injuries including Kris. Kris was with two colleagues crossing the bridge when he was suddenly mowed down by the terrorist in his speeding car. Kris took the brunt of the collision. It left him with two broken legs, numerous head injuries, a lacerated elbow, a damaged left shoulder, sternum and tragically a damaged spinal cord which has left him wheelchair-bound.
Months after the attack, Kris resides in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury undergoing daily routines to help with his rehabilitation, unable to return to his north London home as it is now inaccessible to him and unsuitable for his rehabilitation.
The front step just to get in is a massive obstacle, all the doorways are too narrow, the kitchen is unsuitable, there's no toilet on the ground floor, there's no way he can get upstairs to put the kids to bed and the garden is totally out of bounds. Without big changes, Kris can't get home, so that's where DIY SOS step in, with hundreds of generous volunteers, to help this injured police officer get home to his loving family.