Band Of Builders
You don’t have to wear underpants over your trousers and don a cape to be a superhero. Just ask a Ms Rhiannon Atkinson. The mother from Cwmbran, Wales has been raising money to fund the construction of an extension to her home so that specialist facilities such as a hydrotherapy bath could be installed for her daughter, Pippa. For the 20 month old toddler suffers from Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), an incurable skin condition that causes her to blister at the slightest of touches. On average, Pippa gets between 50 and 60 blisters a day, with each one requiring lancing and special care to prevent infection. Hence the urgent need for the extension to house all the specialist kit. So when around £35,000 had been raised, the Atkinsons didn’t hesitate to get started. Step up the Band of Builders, a group of builders and trades people, who rally round their own in times of need. After getting wind of the plight of Pippa, whose father Damian is an electrician, they collectively picked up their tools and converged from all over the country to Ponthir to offer their services for free. In all the Band, who were put up by a local pub group, spent a week working on the extension, which as the very grateful Ms Atkinson explains saved the family a considerable amount of money, ‘What the guys have achieved in a week is amazing and has saved us about £8,000 – that means we can do the garden and get on with some of the other work we need to do. We’ve had so much support from local builders already but this was the real icing on the cake and has made such a huge difference. We can’t thank them enough. Pippa’s loved having so many people around but she’s oblivious why they’ve been here. I can’t wait to explain it to her one day so she can understand how many people went out of their way to help her.’ Band of Builders founder, Addam Smith, explains what his organisation is all about: ‘we help tradespeople and their families when they need us – so when we knew Damian needed help for his family we were keen to do what we could. Each of the guys who met Pippa was moved to tears by what she has to go through every day and how she copes with it and still smiles. Helping her family and the local builders who have already been doing so much for them is the least we could do and it will be great to see Rhiannon eventually using these facilities that will really make a difference to them.’ The Atkinsons are not the first family the Band of Builders has helped and they won’t be the last as the organisation has applied to become a charity. Sounds like the Band has been built to last.