Oakham firm works on same DIY SOS project at Prince William and Prince Harry

Staff from Elms Landscapes in Oakham with the DIY SOS crew in Manchester. From left, Julian Perryman, David Lewendon, Nick Knowles, Adam Frost, Terry Bridge, Matt Jeffery and Andy Rudkin. EMN-150810-131501001
Staff from Elms Landscapes in Oakham with the DIY SOS crew in Manchester. From left, Julian Perryman, David Lewendon, Nick Knowles, Adam Frost, Terry Bridge, Matt Jeffery and Andy Rudkin. EMN-150810-131501001

A team of landscapers were among hundreds of tradesmen and women - and two princes - who helped transform a city street.

Oakham-based Elms Lanscapes answered the call from the DIY SOS team to turn derelict houses in Newton Heath, Manchester, into homes for ex-service personnel.

The huge project involved volunteer workers from all over the country. And they were even graced by royalty when Prince William and Prince Harry joined the effort for a day.

The Elms Landscapes team took part in a previous DIY SOS project in Peterborough in 2013, and senior partner David Lewendon spotted the latest appeal on Twitter. He asked his team what they thought and by the end of the week they were in a van driving north.

“I read about it and then saw it on breakfast TV,” said David. “They had a veteran called John on there talking about his experiences. It just tugged at the heartstrings.”

One thing that really hit home was when John the veteran, living in his car, said he couldn’t see his son.

“I know what I’m like if I can’t see my son for one day so heaven knows how he feels,” said David.

The team arrived in Manchester on a Friday and spent five days helping transform abandoned yards into beautiful gardens, working alongside Rutland garden designer Adam Frost.

The Elms team returned home the following Tuesday, missing the two princes by a day - “We joked about turning the van around,” said David.

But the Elms Landscapes team were thrilled to have taken part and can’t wait to see the final programme.

The terraced street in Manchester transformed by the DIY SOS crew. EMN-150810-131450001

The terraced street in Manchester transformed by the DIY SOS crew. EMN-150810-131450001

“The atmosphere is absolutely fantastic,” said David.

“Everyone is there because they want to be. We worked from 8am to 8pm but it really didn’t matter. Everyone was mucking in.

“We didn’t get to see them finish so we can’t wait to see it on TV.”

The two-part programme will be shown on BBC One on October 14 and 21 at 8pm.