DIY SOS: Double tragedy forced mum to turn off daughter & husband’s life support

Caroline Blanchard was unable to enter two rooms in her house because of the painful memories they triggered.

The heartbroken mother, from Scunthorpe, experienced the worst pain any parent could possibly imagine in traumatic circumstances.

Then just years later, the grief-stricken family were cruelly rocked by another devastating tragedy.

Before the DIY SOS team embarked on an emotional rebuild, the family were subjected to daily visual reminders of the tragic events that took away two of their loved ones.

Their harrowing ordeal began with a tragic accident in their garage in 2007, when seven-year-old Natasha sadly lost her life.

Natasha was playing on a neighbour’s mini motorbike and accidentally banged her head on a cupboard while dad Paul went inside to fetch a helmet, reports Grimsby Live.

Natasha, 7, died after a tragic accident

The little girl seemed to be fine at first, telling Paul: “It’s OK, Daddy.”

Heartbreakingly, her condition quickly deteriorated and she was rushed to hospital.

“I just remember the surgeon coming in and telling me she was bleeding that badly she couldn’t stop it,” explains tearful Caroline on tonight’s show.

Doctors dealt Caroline and Paul with the devastating news that Natasha needed to be taken off a life-support machine – and she passed away two days after the accident.

Burdened with guilt, motorbike fan Paul decided to crush every single bike that he owned and would sit in the garage for hours trying to come to terms with what happened.

In September 2012, Caroline gave birth to daughter Paige Hope, whose name was chosen by their son Reece because it was a ‘new chapter in their lives’.

Paul suffered from anxiety and lost his life in 2016

The couple struggled to deal with their loss – with Caroline explaining that her husband, who adored his children, lost the “sparkle” from his eye.

Paul suffered from ill health and went to hospital 22 times, being told by doctors each time that his pains were caused by anxiety.

In 2016, just a few days after he complained of chest pains, tragedy struck again when Paul suffered a cardiac arrest at home in front of his wife and daughter.

Paul was kept on a life support machine for 10 days, then Caroline went through hell once again and was forced to switch off the machine.

After the death of both her daughter and husband, brave Caroline donated their organs to help others in need.

Reece tells Nick that he just wants to see his dad again

With no life insurance after the death of Paul, single mum Caroline had to keep working to support her family, which was made difficult because of her panic attacks.

The grieving family were left with two massive reminders of their losses in the house – the garage and the conservatory.

But with good memories in their family home as well, both Caroline and her son Reece did not want to move away.

In a heartbreaking chat with presenter Nick Knowles, Reece says: “I just wish I could see my dad again. That would be amazing if I could.”

They were a family most-deserving of the services of the DIY SOS team, who wanted to give the Blanchards a chance to move forward while still remembering their loved ones.

An army of volunteers came out to help in Scunthorpe

Before the renovation, a friend close to the project said: “Caroline, Reece and Paige are grieving and trying to re-build their lives without their father, husband and sister.

“But there are two huge obstacles to their mental health; the daily visual reminders of the garage and the conservatory, where their two loved ones died.

“Caroline and Reece are going through grief counselling but back at home they’re constantly re-living the traumas, as the garage is a monument in the middle of the back garden to Natasha’s death and is where Paul lost himself to his grief.

“He would sit in there for hours trying to come to terms with what happened. The conservatory has never been used since that traumatic day, the doors are kept shut.

“Reece has lost his Dad – it’s been tough. He’s talking to his friends, to help release his anger, hurt and loss. Both Caroline and Reece don’t want to leave their home and turn their back on the good memories. It’s close to family support and the kid’s schools but Caroline has reached an emotional impasse.”

Caroline gasps when she realises what is going on

The epic challenge was completed in April last year, with the team giving themselves just five days to redesign the house to give Caroline, Reece and Paige a fresh start.

And the motivation behind the intense build even left veteran members of the DIY SOS team in tears.

“Today a community come together to help a family in desperate need,” says Nick on the show.

“It’s a story of loss, of crippling grief and of a community who battle the elements to support a devastated family.

“It’s going to be an emotional journey for us all. But by wiping away the painful memories we’re building to give a grieving family the chance to start to move forward.”

The garden was completely transformed

More than 300 volunteers arrived to help complete the project as well as two designers, Arit Anderson and Gordon Whistance.

They decided to demolish the conservatory and replace the garage with something new.

Almost all of the building materials were donated by local tradespeople and suppliers – and the build would have cost more than £75,000 without their generosity.

“To see so many incredible volunteers come out and support a local family is truly heart-warming, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every last one of them,” said Paolo Proto, Executive Producer for DIY SOS: The Big Build

“The community of volunteers and trades has changed the lives of Caroline and her family and left a legacy that will continue long after the TV programme is forgotten. It’s amazing what can be done when people help each other.”

It was a massive team effort

Viewers will get to see the Blanchard family’s reaction on tonight’s show, as they were left overcome with emotion and gratitude for all the volunteers that helped.

Addressing everyone who had taken part, Nick said: “We weren’t sure ourselves whether we could do this as a five-day build. But it’s pretty amazing what you’ve achieved. Remember that you’ve made the change, not us.”

Nick has even found out how the family have been getting on since the big build was completed.

When asked by Nick on Twitter how they were enjoying their renovated home, Caroline tweeted back: “It’s amazing, absolutely love every inch of the whole place, so overwhelming what everyone has done for us, able to come downstairs and enjoy a coffee in the sunshine is priceless.”

*DIY SOS: The Big Build airs tonight on BBC One at 8pm

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