Builders convert house so paralysed widower can return to live at home

Big-hearted builders convert house so paralysed widower, 58, with four children can return to live at home

  • Father-of-four widow Rob Lamb, 58, was left paralysed after falling at home
  • Quantity surveyor spent months recovering at rehab centre in Oswestry
  • Solihull house needed specialist adaptations before he could go back home
  • Charity Band Of Builders stepped in and completed alterations in eight days

A widow who was left paralysed after falling has thanked 60 big-hearted volunteers for converting his house so he can live at home again.

Father-of-four Rob Lamb suffered a severe spinal cord injury when he fainted due to low blood pressure at home in Solihull, near Birmingham, in October last year.

The incident left the 58-year-old paralysed from the chest down and spending months recovering at a rehabilitation centre in Oswestry, Shropshire.

But before he could return to his home in Solihull, where Mr Lamb has lived for 25 years, the property needed specialist adaptations so he could live there safely.

After hearing about his situation, charity Band Of Builders stepped in, with volunteers surprising him by completing essential alterations in just over a week. 

Rob Lamb is shown around the modified garden at his home in Solihull, West Midlands

Rob Lamb inside the modified kitchen at his home in Solihull, West Midlands

An emotional Rob Lamb returns to his home in Solihull, West Midlands

Volunteers applaud as Rob Lamb returns to his home in Solihull, West Midlands

Rob Lamb, 58, after an accident that left him paralysed. Rob suffered a severe spinal cord injury when he fainted due to low blood pressure at home in October last year

Rob Lamb, 58, pictured with his family before an accident that left him paralysed

After reviewing the finished article, Mr Lamb said: ‘It’s going to make my life so much easier. I am surprised at how much has been done really.’

He added that he was worried before coming home about ‘how difficult life would be’ but the overhaul had made him ‘really happy’. ‘It’s given me a big boost,’ he said.

Getting emotional, he said it was ‘just brilliant’ that so many volunteers, neighbours and strangers had come together to give him and his boys a helping hand at such a difficult time – and in the middle of a pandemic.

He added: ‘It’s at time like this, you see how many good people there are in this world. I think I’ve met a lot of them today.

‘I want to thank the builders for everything they’ve done. I haven’t seen anybody for five or six months, other than nurses, doctors and other patients, but to see so many people gathered together, taking time to welcome you home, is great.

‘I thought I would have to go into a care home first, but to come straight home to my own house is just brilliant.

An emotional Rob Lamb returns to his home in Solihull, West Midlands

Rob Lamb is shown around the modified bedroom at his home in Solihull, West Midlands

Rob Lamb is shown around the modified bathroom at his home in Solihull, West Midlands

Rob Lamb is shown around the modified bedroom at his home in Solihull, West Midlands

The renovated living room at the home of Rob Lamb in Solihull

Rob Lamb is shown around the modified garden at his home in Solihull, West Midlands

The renovated garden area at the home of Rob Lamb in Solihull, West Midlands

Volunteers from the charity Band of Builders at work in the garden of Rob Lamb’s home

Volunteers from the charity Band of Builders at work in the garden of Rob Lamb’s home

Volunteers from the charity Band of Builders at work on the home of Rob Lamb

‘Everybody worked so hard, the nurses and carers, to make sure I could get out today, to be here with you guys – they’ve just been top-notch.’

Quantity surveyor Mr Lamb, who was widowed when his wife Julie died suddenly in 2017, lives at the house with sons Callum, Gavin, and Mackenzie, who plays for West Bromwich Albion’s youth team. 

The Lamb family presented the charity with a cheque for £10,000 as a thank you for the volunteers’ hard work, which will help make sure other life-changing projects can go ahead in other parts of the country.

A team of 60 tradespeople from across the country worked for eight successive days, from March 13 to Sunday. 

Gavin said the changes were ‘amazing to see’, adding that they were excited to have their father back home so he could enjoy the space and not have to worry.

Praising the volunteers, he added: ‘These guys stepped in – were we left on our own, we wouldn’t have even known where to go.

‘A lot of them are doing this because they’ve been through things that are similar.’

Volunteers from the charity Band of Builders at work on the home of Rob Lamb

An emotional Rob Lamb is applauded as he returns to his home in Solihull, West Midlands

An emotional Rob Lamb returns to his home in Solihull, West Midlands

Rob Lamb is shown around the modified kitchen at his home in Solihull, West Midlands

The charity helps people in the industry battling illness or injury, through practical projects.

Volunteers give up their time free of charge, while materials are donated by building firms, with Mr Lamb’s project sponsored by Tarmac Blue Circle.

Craig Cashmore, who led the build with fellow volunteer Tim Winch, said Mr Lamb’s accident had made his house ‘completely inaccessible’, and the aim had been to get life back to ‘as normal as possible’ for him.

He added: ‘Now we’ve built him a new downstairs wet-room, kitchen, bedroom, hallway, living room, everywhere, so now it’s all accessible.

‘Even going into the back garden, where there’s new decking for him and a slope down to the pergola, so he can enjoy a bit of the garden.’

He added that, had the build been done privately, it would have taken more than a month. ‘None of us are doing it for payment,’ said Mr Cashmore.

‘We’ll all work together to get it finished in time for Rob.’ 

He went on: ‘He can’t come home, because if he comes home, he can’t go anywhere, can’t use the house, so we’ve been trying to get it done as quick as we can – in lockdown as well. The feeling you get between everybody working here is fantastic, you couldn’t buy it.’

He added that neighbours had also chipped in with cups of tea, ‘feeding us and watering us’. 

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