Builders make life better for Garry

By Sarah Edwards at

A construction firm stepped in to carry out its own DIY SOS style build to help a Bicester family.

Last summer Garry Nicholls, 57, was told he had terminal lung cancer and since then his health has deteriorated and he is unable to work. Home life was also becoming a struggle – he lives in a three-storey house in Bicester, with his partner Nikki and their children Garin and Rhys, but was finding it difficult to climb the stairs.

In a bid to make life easier for Garry, the couple planned to convert their garage and reconfigure the hallway to create a ground floor bedroom and wet room.But the project was going to take all of their savings. That is until local building firm Leon OC stepped in and agreed to take on the project in a DIY SOS style build.

With a full diary, Leon OC’s staff worked evenings and weekends and their suppliers either donated materials or provided them at cost. Over four weeks, the Leon OC team, based in Chesterton, near Bicester, transformed the ground floor, converting a small cloakroom and garage into a wet room and bedroom enabling Garry to live comfortably on one floor.

Director Leon O’Callaghan said: “Our schedule is booked six months in advance, but once the team heard about the family’s situation, they agreed to take the job on to help Garry and Nikki. “We had a quite tight budget for this project, particularly as we had to modify the entire ground floor. We wanted to give them the high-end finish we give to all our clients, so we put a call out to our suppliers and everyone we asked was happy to chip-in.”

Co-director Ted Owen said: “One of our contractors, Nick Taylor from NT plumbing, even cut his holiday short to come and help and Kennington Flooring donated the wet room flooring free. Other colleagues including, Eco-Electrical, Prestige Paint, and Grant & Stone, were very generous with their time and materials.I think we are all really pleased with the result and happy we have managed to make Garry’s life a little easier.”

Former water treatment engineer Garry said: “I can’t thank the team enough. I was really struggling to climb the stairs to reach the rest of the house. When we initially tried to book a builder they all said there would be a six month wait, and I really couldn’t wait.We were delighted when Leon and Ted took on our project.  They really pulled out all the stops to get the work done quickly. It has certainly improved my quality of life.”