Budleigh man’s role in TV’s SOS leads to tears
PUBLISHED: 10:00 28 November 2016 | UPDATED: 12:38 28 November 2016
A Budleigh Salterton man was brought to tears after seeing the reaction of children to a new facility he helped design as part of a television charity challenge.
Laurence Mitchell, of Bedlands Lane, was a volunteer designer on the DIY: SOS television programme which aired on Thursday (November 17).
The £1.5million project involved renovating a youth carer facility in Blackpool in just nine days.
The 44-year-old Budleigh man, who has previously volunteered with DIY: SOS, was part of a team that turned around the project, bringing the youngsters who use it to tears.
Laurence, whose 14-year-old daughter suffers a disability affecting her speech and language, admitted to being humbled by the youngsters’ reaction.
He said: “I have got a daughter with special needs. I understand more than most what it means.
“We (Lawrence and wife Stephanie) are carers for my daughter. This project was actually about children who were carers for their parents.
“For me, it really struck home. I’m an adult and I sometimes buckle under the pressure.”
Laurence said the best part was the final 15 minutes of the last day on site with presenter Nick Knowles when the children got to see it.
“I was in bits seeing those children running around and crying,” he said.
Laurence, who has a landscaping and a roofing company, was approached five weeks before the project to be a guest designer.
He was responsible for designing and overseeing the outdoor areas of the project, including a play area for the children.
He added: “The youngest carer who was using this facility was five years old.
“That’s a five-year-old cooking and cleaning.
“Being part of this project is massive; for me, what is so special about it is that there was no money involved.”