Band of builders gives new garden to motor neurone disease sufferer

Band of builders gives new garden to motor neurone disease sufferer

Kind tradesmen and women from across the country are uniting to help transform the home and garden of a builder suffering from Motor Neurone Disease.

Jamie Thompson was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in October 2014, aged 45, and told he had just three years to live.

The 49-year-old, an electrician and general builder from Malvern, Worcestershire, has already surpassed medics’ expectation but is now wheelchair-bound and has limited use of his hands.

Jamie’s condition means he is confined to areas that his motorised wheelchair can access and is unable to use his garden to spend time with his two-year-old son Ollie and two young daughters Kiya, 12, and Amber, seven, from a previous relationship who visit regularly.

But after hearing about his situation, two organisations whose aim is to help members of the UK construction industry in their hour of need have joined forces to help Jamie and his family with support from builders’ merchant Jewson.

Band of Builders, a charitable organisation that carries out projects and adaptations to help tradespeople and their families, has teamed up with the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, which offers financial and mental wellbeing assistance to construction workers, to overhaul Jamie’s garden so he can finally access all of it and spend precious time with his family outside. Jewson will help fund the project by donating building materials that were won by Band of Builders’ founder Addam Smith in the 2017 Building Better Communities competition.

Richard Patchesa, trustee at Band of Builders, said: “Motor Neurone Disease is catastrophic for any family, but especially for someone whose career and life has revolved around physical and practical activity.

“A council-installed lift and decking area has made one small part of the garden accessible for Jamie, but it’s not an area where he can actually spend precious moments with his young children. The alteration we’re going to make to his garden, as well as to his house to make it safer will mean the whole family can enjoy what time they have in safe surroundings.”

Bill Hill, CEO of the Lighthouse Club Charity, said: “As well as supporting Jamie with his daily household costs we are delighted to be able to fund part of the Band of Builders project to help improve Jamie and his family’s life even more. By working together with other organisations, we can make sure that our construction families in need get all the possible support available to them.”

At least 40 volunteer tradespeople will gather at Jamie and Sarah’s home from Saturday, August 25th, for a week. Work will include: landscaping the garden, adding a new French door and an extended decking area, removing the existing kitchen and replacing it with a new one and all ancillary works.

Jamie’s partner Sarah Townsend said: “ We can’t begin to express our sheer excitement and gratitude about the up and coming project.

“Life is so different for Jamie these days and, consequently, for us as a family. We are now unable to go out to nice places and eat out together – two things we enjoyed more than anything prior to this awful, cruel disease taking its toll. Thanks to this project, Jamie will now be able to use his garden to its maximum, safely and contentedly, watching his children enjoy themselves outdoors – something he can at present only witness from the top decking area, or from the lounge window. We may even be able to enjoy a late summer BBQ or two.

“A new kitchen and more space within it and the flexibility to throw the doors open and eat outside as a family will mean that Jamie can maybe come and keep me company when I cook and we can talk about our day, which at present, we are unable to do.

“Whilst this horrible illness is going nowhere, we as a family now have something to look forward to and enjoy together long term, which will make Jamie’s time left with us all much happier.”


  1. Media are invited to attend the first day of the project at Jamie’s home in Malvern, Worcestershire. The project will take place from Saturday, August 25th, for a week. For more details or to arrange interviews, either on site or over the phone, please contact Ellen Manning from Band of Builders on 07515 717173
  2. The project will use donated materials, a grant from the Lighthouse Club and cash from Jewson won by Band of Builders founder Addam Smith as part of its Building Better Communities Awards.  Work will include: landscaping the garden, adding a new French door and an extended decking area, removing the existing kitchen and replacing with a new one and all ancillary works.


Jamie’s project is the latest project undertaken by Band of Builders, a charitable organisation that aims to help UK construction workers and their families. Band of Builders was formed after the initial fundraising efforts by Addam Smith to help his friend Keith Ellick. It is now applying to become a registered charity that will help members of the UK-based construction industry and their associates through projects.


Last year, the charity’s Construction Industry Helpline supported over 1,500 construction families in crisis and over 400 families were granted £735,000 of emergency financial help. Of the 1,500 calls into the helpline, 1,100 of these were given advice and support on issues ranging from stress and depression to legal, debt management and taxation advice.

The Charity receives no public finance and relies on the support from within the industry and its nationwide network of 21 independent, volunteer managed Regional Lighthouse Clubs to fund its charitable work


Since opening its first branch in 1836, Jewson has expanded to offer the widest range of products and materials from everyday items like timber and bricks, to landscaping and roofing. Across the UK, the builders’ merchant also has specialist tool hire and kitchen and bathroom centres. For more information visit:

The Building Better Communities competition run by Jewson supports building projects up and down the country. It is divided into several categories, including a range of regional prizes. The Trade Hero category was new for 2017, celebrating construction workers who play a major role in their community.