Shropshire Star

DIY SOS team in Telford to plan Big Build for Matthew Cooper

DIY SOS builders have visited Telford making initial works to get ready for its Big Build at the home of Matthew Cooper.


Mark Millar, the team's project manager and a familiar face from the BBC television show, met Julie Henry, headteacher at Matthew's former school Wrockwardine Wood Juniors.

Together the pair looked at the plans for his Trench home, which have been designed by Neil Pennell of Penn Architectural Ltd, and should allow Matthew, 11, to live back in his family home with parents Sue and Leigh for the first time in over a year.

  • DIY SOS say they want to make this Big Build one its best yet and need skilled tradespeople and suppliers to come forward

  • To join the build, potential workers need to attend a trades day on February 1, so they can be shown the build

  • Anyone interested should email as soon as possible with details of their trade, availability and telephone contact details.

Matthew, 11, was a typical active boy with a love of Doctor Who and sport. He has three best friends at school and is loved beyond all else by his parents Leigh and Sue.

At age 10 Matthew started to develop episodes of headaches and nausea – it was being monitored by doctors but they didn't have big concerns.

During a family holiday in Devon, Matthew suddenly struggled to walk – within 48 hours he was rushed into hospital for scans and emergency surgery to treat a brain tumour.

After an operation to remove 90 per cent of Matthew's cancerous tumour; the family were given a positive prognosis by consultants. But when Matthew was transferred from intensive care back to the ward, his blood pressure became unstable resulting in two massive strokes and paralysis.

Parents Leigh and Sue said "It felt like a lottery win when Matt could open one eye."

Fourteen months later, he has finished his final round of chemotherapy and has left Birmingham Children's Hospital, but has been forced to move to a temporary home until his house is completely renovated.

Led by Wrockwardine Wood Junior School, the community has rallied around Matthew and has raised £52,000 to help with the improvements.

But they were given an unexpected boost last week when it was announced that DIY SOS would be stepping in to help with the renovations, leaving the money for his parents to be able to pay for specialist treatment to help Matthew along the road to recovery.

The house needs a downstairs extension with space for a carer to stay and all the bespoke care provision that Matthew will need including physio space, wet room, social space and the ability to access the entire ground floor.

Nick Knowles and the DIY SOS team. Inset: Matthew Cooper
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