A MAN who helped transform the former family home of Claire Throssell has been nominated in the Proud of Barnsley awards.

Ged Brearley was first in line to help repair Claire’s home on Tennyson Close, Penistone, which was destroyed in a fire started by her ex-husband Darren Sykes.

The fire, in October 2014, claimed the lives of Claire’s two sons Jack, 12, and Paul, nine. Sykes also died.

He had lured them to the attic using a new model train set as pools of petrol burned below.
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Claire and Sykes had separated before he started the fire and Sykes had cancelled the house insurance leaving her with nothing.

The community rallied around and a £70,000 appeal was launched to help refurbish the house to allow Claire to sell it.

Ged, of Old Coltmans Farm, Wood End Court, Dodworth, was the volunteer project leader.

He said about 82 people had worked more than 1080 volunteer hours to clear the house, make sure it was structurally safe, and completely refurbish it.

He said: “I was a little taken aback to find out I had been nominated. There is no doubt that any of us did it for any recognition, it was just commitment to a cause and everyone wanted to do things as a part of it.

“There were a number of people involved in the project, but I’m happy to be nominated for the collective. There’s a lot of hard work and dedication gone into it, and a lot of time that has been given up. For me, the team that worked on the restoration deserve a little bit of recognition.”

Ged said the restoration would have cost £68,000 if it had all been paid for. In actual fact the team only spent £18,000 on specialist elements relating to things such as structure and asbestos, meaning £50,000 of time and materials were donated.

The volunteers did the work in their free time, away from their regular jobs and sacrificed spending time with their families.

Rebecca Smith, who has nominated Ged, also lives on Tennyson Close and has seen the team hard at work over the last 12 months.

She said: “As soon as the appeal went out the first person to step forward was Ged Brearley. This man, with help from Penistone 41 Club, Penistone Round Table and St John’s Church has single-handedly coordinated all the work and managed to persuade local trades people to provide their equipment, time and products mostly for free. He has given up evenings, weekends and even time over Christmas to bring everyone together.

“Ged himself works full time is married with three daughters and has a small farm holding to look after so his time is precious, but he still found time to help a woman who had lost everything and he continues to support her in her quest to set up a new charity in memory of her sons. He is an amazing man and thoroughly deserves the recognition and award. This man is a true community hero.”