“We’re totally overwhelmed, but it doesn’t end here” said one of the Best for Ben committee members as BBC’s DIY SOS team near completion of Ben Wernham’s Avening home improvements.

Ben Wernham, 33, was left paralysed from the neck down in a swimming pool accident while on a family holiday in Cyprus last year.

Following the incident the community quickly rallied around Ben, his partner Ella, eight-year-old step-daughter Olivia and three-year-old daughter Iris to raise funds.

The Best for Ben committee was formed last August-September, all of the 12-15 members have close ties to the family, the group and has since raised more than £100,000 for the family.

Emily Murray, who went to school with Ella, said on behalf of the committee: “This is a game changer for Ella and Ben, this project would have taken us years without the help of DIY SOS.

“We’re totally overwhelmed by the community’s involvement, Stroud Rotary Club, all the local tradesmen who offered their services and all the business who have offered food and drinks.

“We got to the stage where we could put a call out on social media and within an hour we would have what we asked for, whether that was more water or a plumber.

“It’s all been very humbling, there’s a real community spirit, everyone has rallied around and pitched in to help out in any way they can.

“We’ve achieved more than we imagined was possible in just over a year, and DIY SOS has been nothing short of a dream come true and a significant fast forward button on what we set out to achieve.

“For the committee the fundraising will not end here.

“We originally called the campaign ‘bring Ben home’ however we soon realised that Ben’s needs as a tetraplegic will change over time, and we can only hope there may be new technology, or a piece of equipment that might improve Ben’s quality of life - hence the change of name and focus to ‘best4ben’.”

Stroud News and Journal:

Above - Ben Wernham, 33, with his three-year-old daughter Iris

The reveal of the finished project is tomorrow but the team are still in need for further hands for skilled jobs such as plastering and laying heavy slabs.

Here are just come of the local contributors: Smiths of Gloucester donated a skip, Jonathan Randall Kitchens installed the new kitchen, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose in Stroud and Cirencester and K ‘n’ G Convenience donated huge amounts of food and water, The Bay Tree in Stonehouse donated pastries, Stroud Brewery donated beer and Nailsworth Rotary Club made teas and coffees throughout the week-long project.

More than 100 people have been on the site at any given time since last Tuesday and despite soaring temperatures over the weekend.

The mercury reached a startling high of 43.7 degrees Celsius in the loft where S Court Plumbing were busy working.

Emily said that even when the project on Ben’s house comes to a close the committee will continue to raise funds for any further assistance he may need such as a custom wheelchair.

Their aims include further developments to Avening itself to provide improved disabled access.

She said: “This isn’t the end of it for us, there’s still lots more we want to do.”

To donate to the fundraiser visit bit.ly/2sOIbLj or for updates and to get involved with the project visit the Best for Ben Facebook page at bit.ly/2ryHd1q

All photos in the gallery above by Simon Pizzey