Band of Builders has completed an extension to the home of a Suffolk family so that they can get their 21-year-old son home – more than three years after he suffered a catastrophic brain aneurysm, which left him requiring round-the-clock care at a specialist neurological care centre in Ipswich.
In an emotional handover, Luke Goold-Hannatt – flanked by his parents, brother and sister and a raft of well-wishers – visited his family home for the first time since the extension was completed by our volunteers.
More than 70 tradespeople from across the UK answered the call to build the extension in just four weeks so that there’s room for a ground-floor bedroom and wet room for Luke and also a bedroom for a specialist live-in carer.
Luke told the gathered crowd: “I just want to say thank you so much to every single person who helped to build me my new home – and how happy I am that I will be back with my family again. I’ve missed them all so much. You’re all amazing and I’ll never forget what you’ve done for me.”
Now that the extension is completed, specialist equipment will be installed in the next few weeks – after which Luke can finally go home by September: reuniting the family under one roof again for the first time in more than three years.
Trainee bricklayer Luke was just 17 years old when he suffered an aneurysm known as an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in January 2020. Mum Karen said his chances of survival were not good as he underwent life-saving surgery at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to release the pressure to his brain.
Luke has been left with profound disabilities, which require constant care. He is now able to move one leg and one of his arms, and although he cannot speak, he communicates by blinking and raising his eyebrows, as well as using an alphabet chart to spell out words.
Following the surgery, he was moved back to Ipswich Hospital before being transferred to a rehabilitation centre in Norwich. From there, he was moved to the Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre The Chantry in Ipswich in January last year, where he receives specialist neurological care.
Dad David and Karen had been trying to fundraise the estimated £100,000 needed for the extensive renovations when Band of Builders stepped in to help.
We mobilised our army of volunteer tradespeople which included plant workers, bricklayers, builders, roofers, plumbers, electricians and decorators.
We also drew on the backing of businesses to provide materials and support, including headline sponsor DEWALT - as well as Lee Brothers, Reconomy. Jewson, Eastern Concrete, Travis Perkins, Uheat, Talasey, Forterrra, SIG Roofing, Flex R, Denmans, Howdens, Marshalls, Kent Blaxill, Crown and Hamilton, Catnic, Wavin, Karndean, Weber, Celotex, LDM, Holmes Plant Hire & Construction, Sovereign Turf, Tru Mix, Selco, Assistive Bathing and Persimmon Homes.
As well as thanking all the volunteers and businesses that supported the project, our Operations Director Tony Steel also praised local businesses and the local community for its support in keeping the volunteer workforce supplied with food and drinks during the project.
“Our corporate sponsors have been amazing in supporting Luke’s project by generously donating time and materials – which we simply couldn’t have done without,” he said. “We are also grateful that the local community came out in force to support the project to get Luke home, and the generosity of all those businesses that supplied food to keep our volunteers fed was incredible.”
He added: “Everyone has been on a mission to get Luke home and back where he belongs: with his family,” he said.
“Three years has been a long time to be separated from his parents and younger brother and sister – and it has been especially hard for them because they had to endure all the restrictions around COVID, which meant they weren’t able to spend precious time with Luke.
“Band of Builders answered the call when the family put out an appeal to get Luke home before Christmas this year. And in a few short weeks, their Christmas wish will come true.”