TV’s Nick Knowles steps in to help Whiteley family

HARD AT WORK Presenter Nick Knowles, second from right at the front, with some of the workers for DIY SOS
HARD AT WORK Presenter Nick Knowles, second from right at the front, with some of the workers for DIY SOS
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THE family of two young disabled twins have been thrown a lifeline by a TV show which is adapting their house to make life easier.

Workers from BBC programme DIY SOS are at the home of Hanaagh and Mike Smith in Saffron Way, Whiteley.

It comes after a family friend tipped off the show, fronted by presenter Nick Knowles, that the Smiths were finding it increasingly difficult to live in the house.

The couple’s two-year-old twin sons, Reuben and Zachary were born prematurely at 29 weeks.

Due to a brain injury, Reuben was later diagnosed with quadriplegic cerebral palsy.

Zachary is severely deaf and has had meningitis twice.

The family have left the house in Saffron Way so that builders can get on with the work to adapt the home to meet the needs the boys will have as they grow up.

Mark Millar, project manager, said: ‘The family are beautiful. They don’t know what we’re doing to the house, so it must be quite scary for them.’

There are 40 people working on the site, most of whom are volunteers.

Mr Millar added: ‘We are just the catalyst, it’s the local community that puts this all together.’

Mr Knowles said: ‘Everyone has been unbelievable, the neighbours have been great and the Smiths are a great couple.’

Neighbours Sally Timmins, 30, and Josh Akerman, 24, said they were not bothered by all the commotion even though their daughter Meredith Rose is just five weeks old.

‘They are great friends of ours and they really deserve this,’ said Miss Timmons.

Mrs Smith has previously told The News how difficult life can be.

‘The first year was a complete rollercoaster of emotions and lots of medical treatment,’ she said,

‘Now Reuben needs lots of things, such as a wheelchair in the future, that the NHS can’t provide.’

Work will be carried out for 12 hours every day on the site for the next week.

Neighbours gathered on the road on the first day to show their support and try to catch a glimpse of the cast.

Lizzie Physick, from Saffron Way, said: ‘They’ve taken over the whole road, but it is worth it as it’s such a great cause.’

The ‘big reveal’ will be held next Thursday when the Smith family will finally get to see the team’s hard work.