DIY SOS: The Big Build viewers were reduced to tears over the team’s latest project to help a widow after her husband and daughter both died at her home.
The BBC One programme, which aired last night, saw presenter Nick Knowles helping Caroline Blanchard, from Scunthrope, who tragically lost both her seven-year-old daughter Natasha in a freak accident in 2007, six years before her husband Paul, 48, died of a heart attack.
The 58-year-old and his team of 300 volunteer tradespeople demolished the conservatory and garage where her family members died in just five days, creating a stunning living space that allowed the group to create new memories in the home.
Without the support of local tradespeople, who donated much of their time and supplies for free, the build would have cost more than £75,000.
Viewers were left in hysterics over the episode, with one commenting: ‘Dear god I always cry but don’t think I’ve ever sobbed this much. Wishing only good things for this family.’
DIY SOS: The Big Build viewers were reduced to tears over the team’s latest project to help a widow living in the shadow of losing her husband and daughter at home (pictured, the garage and garden before the renovation)
The BBC One programme, which aired last night, saw presenter Nick Knowles helping Caroline Blanchard, from Scunthrope, who tragically lost both her seven-year-old daughter Natasha and husband Paul, 48, in her family home
Another wrote: ‘I hope you’re proud of yourself Nick Knowles, making thousands of people cry week after week.
‘Your teams never cease to amaze what can be achieved as a team..amazing community spirit..there’s enough negativity in the media. Most people are really nice and genuine #DIYSOS’
Starting the programme, Caroline recalled meeting her husband Paul while she was still in college, revealing: ‘From the moment I met him, I knew he was the one for me.’
After a few years together, the couple bought a house in Scunthorpe together with Caroline saying: ‘Paul loved his bikes and cars, the fact we had our own drive sold it for him.’
During the programme, Caroline revealed she was unable to look out of her kitchen window because the garden reminded her too much of the trauma of losing her daughter
The team of 300 builders and workers transformed the interiors of the home for the family in order for them to create happier memories
Recalling the moment they welcomed their daughter Natasha, Caroline explained: ‘The minute he saw Natasha he just loved her. I saw it in him.
‘And that made me love him even more. I knew he would be an amazing dad to her, I knew she would always be his number one.’
From day one, Natasha was a ‘fire cracker’, with Caroline saying: ‘She was always a dare devil, she always wanted to be the first on one to try it.’
Caroline welcomed a son, Reece, a few years later, but tragically, it wasn’t long before their lives were completely shattered.
The mother broke down in tears after the transformation was revealed to her on the programme last night
She explained: ‘Tasha was in the garden with her dad. I had just come in, I was going to get tea sorted and she wanted to go on one of the motorbikes.
‘Paul said to her, “Just wait for me, I’ll go and get your helmet”, which was in the house.’
She continued: ‘For some reason, she decided to ride down the yard, without it on and didn’t stop and just went straight into the garage [door].’
‘Paul ran after her and picked her up and she said “I’m alright”. She went into the hallway and had a massive seizure in her dads arms.’
Natasha was rushed into surgery, where specialists worked to relieve the pressure on her brain but Caroline explained: ‘I just remember the surgeon coming in and telling me she was bleeding that badly they couldn’t stop it.’
Many of those watching at home admitted the episode had left them bawling over the family’s tragic story
She then recalled being told the family would need to take Natasha off life support, revealing: ‘We were asked if she would be a donor, and so we donated her heart valves. She laid with me, and passed away in my arms.’
Caroline’s sister Yvvone remembered the dark times that followed Natasha’s death, explaning: ‘From that day, Paul was not the same person. He just sort of, withdrew. He had to carry on because of Caroline and Reece but the spark in his eye, it just seemed to go out. Natasha was his world.
‘Caroline just cried constantly but because they had Reece, they had a reason to keep going.’
Reece said: ‘When my mum and dad came in, everything changed. If I wanted to cry, I used to come upstairs and lock myself away so that my mum wouldn’t see me upset. I struggled a little bit.’
Caroline’s daughter Natasha died in 2007 after driving a mini motorbike into the family garage and hitting her head
During last nights episode, Reece explained that he ‘wishes’ he could see his father Paul again, after he passed away from a cardiac arrest in the conservatory of their family home
Life stumbled on in a cloud of grief and the impact of losing his daughter continued to impact Paul, who suffered from chest pains and palpitations.
The family welcomed another daughter, Paige, but were never able to recover from the loss of their first child.
In 2016, Caroline explained that Paul had a heart attack, revealing: ‘We were just sat in the conservatory and he just made this horrendous noise. I looked at him, and he just stood up and fell to the floor and started convulsing.’
Paul had had a massive heart attack and scans showed he had suffered brain damage.
‘Again, will he be a donor, and will you turn his life support? So I just laid with him and told him he could go and I’d look after the kids.’
In the incredible renovation, the team transformed the garage where Natasha died into a stunning living area
Meanwhile the main spaces in the family home were also given a face lift in order to create a cosy and comfortable space
The family struggled financially, with Caroline unable to do anything to change the physical reminders of the traumas that happened at the time.
Standing in the kitchen, she explained: ‘I keep the blind down at all times so I can’t see the garage when I first come down in the morning.
‘It’s shut all the time. I see her being carried out. These flashbacks of the day the accident happened.’
Meanwhile the conservatory, where Paul collapsed, was an every day minder of the husband she lost.
She said: ‘Every day I see him laid there and I don’t think it will ever go. It’s very very hard to be in here.
‘It’s from the conservatory all the way back that I struggle with. Normally there is a blind there that is down all the time.’
Meanwhile the team also gifted Caroline a brand new master bedroom in order for her to relax in her home
Nick also unveiled Caroline’s daughter Paige’s new princess bedroom, with pink floral wallpaper and white furnishings
The team created a family dining space with photographs covering the walls in order to give them a space to make happy memories together
She said she thought about moving, explaining: ‘In the beginning [I thought about it], but the community we have got up this street, they have been amazing with us.
‘They care for me, they care for the children, they do genuinely look out for us. To lose that, the neighbours that are really good and really supportive.’
The DIY SOS team agreed to help the deserving family after hearing how they had been wracked by tragedy over the years, and recruited 300 local tradesmen to renovate the house for the Blanchards.
Meanwhile almost all of the building materials were donated by local suppliers, including carpets and fencing for the house.
The five day build saw the team battle brutal weather condition in order to tear down the garage and conservatory and create a new home for the family.
During the show, Caroline revealed it had become increasingly difficult to live in her home with her young children Paige and Reece after the death of her daughter and husband
As the back of the house was revealed, where the conservatory once stood, Caroline was left in hysterics.
She said: ‘It’s the best thing you could have done, taking that down so I don’t have to think about it anymore.’
While the garage was a no-go zone for Caroline, it was a positive reminder of his father for Reece so the team created a studio in which he could work on his bikes and remember Paul.
The garage was transformed into a living area for the family, providing them a quiet space to reflect.
As the new studio was revealed to Caroline, she couldn’t contain her emotion, saying: ‘All I ever saw was her getting carried out by him. Thankyou.’
Nick and the 300 person team battle poor weather conditions to transform the home in just five days
Meanwhile the team also renovated the kitchen into a stunning contemporary white space, while the lounge became an elegant family living room.
She was left gobsmacked by the transformed bedroom, saying: ‘This feels like my room already.’
Caroline said: ‘It just feels like I’ve got my home back.’
Many of those watching were left in hysterics over the episode, with one saying: ‘Well that’s lucky…I needed a good cry. What a terrible story, I hope this is the start of a happy ending for this family.’
‘It was one of those episodes where you cry beginning, middle and end. Lovely family and great makeover.’