Two gay dads were moved to tears when their home was demolished – but for all the right reasons.
Garry and Kyle Ratcliffe, who adopted four children with special needs, have had their tiny bungalow replaced with a five-bedroom house by BBC TV show DIY SOS and the help of the community.
The dedicated dads, who live on the Isle Of Sheppey in Kent, first adopted Haydn, who has cerebral palsy, and then Curtis, who was adopted at four months old and is severely epileptic, blind, prone to life-threatening chest infections, and also has cerebral palsy.
They then fostered sisters Bella, who was six, and Phoebe, who was one. Bella has Down’s syndrome, so when there was a hint that the sisters may be split up, they decided to offer a lifeline to both girls.
“There was a risk the girls would be split up,” Garry told The Sun.
“It’s quite a ruthless market, you know a catalogue of ‘oh, I like that one’ or ‘she’s got Down’s, we don’t want a child like that.’
“Bella could have been dumped in care for the rest of her life. No matter what her own circumstances we could not have let them be adopted separately.”
The couple felt that they were “failing” because of their small home – Curtis was in a cot in the front room, Phoebe was sleeping on the sofa, Haydn had a small bedroom, and Bella was in the boot room.
The new home, built on the same lot in just nine days, is a fully accessible five-bedroom build to cater for all of the family’s needs.
It was only possible due to the amazing goodwill, hard work and generosity of the local community and trade workers, who gave their time, work and supplies to the project.
It even comes kitted out with a hoist system, to allow Haydn to access the bathroom independently.
After the build was complete, Garry and Kyle were both moved to tears as they toured the house.
Kyle said: “It’s absolutely beautiful! Our kids are going to love this. I just can’t believe the detail and the thought that’s gone into our kids. Because it’s all just about our kids, isn’t it?
“It’s everything, it’s literally everything, you’ve thought of everything. It’s enabling their kids to be more than they are, which is really important.”
Speaking to the hundreds of workers and volunteers who helped build the house, Garry added: “We love our kids very much as you can probably tell.
“We’ve always thought we were quite independent and could do things on our own. We could never have done this on our own.
“Not only have you given us a beautiful house and garden for today, but for our children, they’re going to be with us forever. You’ve future-proofed our lives for us.”