Amazing gesture to save couple’s dream

Keith and Kate Smith pictured at their Blackpool home with some of the people who have helped them
Keith and Kate Smith pictured at their Blackpool home with some of the people who have helped them
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When the cash ran out Keith and Kate Smith thought they’d have to abandon their dream home.

But kind-hearted neighbours and tradesmen from across Lancashire had other ideas, rallying around the disabled couple to make their bricks and mortar dream a reality.

Work at Kate and Keith Smith's home in Oxenhurst Road

Work at Kate and Keith Smith's home in Oxenhurst Road

Keith, 53, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in February 2014 and needs a wheelchair and specialist care.

His wife Kate, 68, also uses a wheelchair and the couple bought a house in Oxenhurst Road, Grange Park, with a view to adapting it for their needs.

Their current home in Falmouth Avenue, Fleetwood is no longer suitable and the husband and wife commissioned builders to create a ground floor extension at Oxenhurst Road.

However costs for the project- the initial build priced at £50,000 - spiralled with builders unable to complete the job when the cash ran out.

We couldn’t just stand by, the response has been fantastic

The couple are now in dispute with the building firm they hired to carry out the work.

With Kate and Keith having ploughed more than £100,000 into their dream home, neighbours stepped in to help finish the job.

And in scenes reminiscent of the hit TV Show DIY SOS, businesses joined in the push to get the house completed.

Mike Bell, who lives next door but one, said: “We couldn’t just stand by, the response has been fantastic.

Work at Kate and Keith Smith's home in Oxenhurst Road

Work at Kate and Keith Smith's home in Oxenhurst Road

“One of their friends put an appeal out for any traders who could help finish the job. It went on a couple of trades groups on social media.

“The street was full with people who turned up to help – we had qualified plumbers, gas engineers – they’ve sorted all the heating out, got everything inside up to scratch.

“A lot of them were wearing MND associated T-shirts to show their support.”

For Kate the way the community has rallied round has been amazing.

She said: “We’ve got so many good friends. It’s been marvellous. On Monday when all those people turned up, it was amazing. We just want to be able to setting into the house.

“Keith is very ill and I’m in a wheelchair myself, we just wanted our dream home. When the work stopped it was devastating.”

Kate couldn’t believe how word of the couple’s plight had spread.

She said: “We had people from all over come and help. There were people from Blackburn who had heard over the internet and wanted to help.

“We had people from all backgrounds, all faiths getting involved. It was brilliant seeing them work together.”

There are still some vital jobs left before Kate and Keith can move in.

“It’s 99 per cent finished now,” Mike explained. “But one thing which still needs doing is the outside.

“At the moment there’s board down over the rubble but we need proper wheelchair access.

“We are still needing materials and donations to complete the gardens as at the moment there is no wheelchair access to the property.”

Mike is also trying to raise £1,500 to replace some of the couple’s savings ploughed into the build.

Anyone willing to help can donate or contact Mike at crowdfunding.justgiving.com/oxenhurstrd

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