Published: 09:50, 06 December 2019
| Updated: 09:54, 06 December 2019
A group of firefighters are rallying round to do a DIY SOS-style renovation for their former colleague who had to cut his career short after being diagnosed with MS.
Tom Sharp, from Ramsgate, has brought together a team of friends and firefighters, retired and working, to help decorate Brian Lynch's run-down bungalow.
The 56-year-old had to give up his beloved career due to the degenerative disease after working more than 20 years for the emergency service and has been struggling to update his home.
Mr Sharp, of Wellington Crescent, who worked with Brian at Sidcup Blue Watch, says his former colleague has spent his life helping others and is reluctant to accept support.
"I can honestly say that Brian is one of the most kind, caring, funny, thoughtful and, above all, great firefighters I've ever served with," he said.
"He's always been a helper and so he finds it hard to accept help himself - he's always saying 'I'm fine'.
"He thinks other people are worse off than him so finds it hard to accept support.
'We just want to give Brian the ideal, suitable, comfortable home that he deserves' - Tom Sharp
"But he has spent his whole life helping people and so it's time he started, which I think he's coming around to.
"We couldn't just steam roll into his house with plaster boards and paint, so he had to finally agree."
The team includes retired firefighters and Mr Sharp says it has brought them all back together.
"We just want to give Brian the ideal, suitable, comfortable home that he deserves," said Mr Sharp, who works for Bexley Blue Watch.
"He is living in a two-bedroom bungalow, which you could say needs bringing into 2019 from the 30s.
"Polystyrene ceilings, an unfinished kitchen, decorating and plastering throughout required, and most importantly, which is what inspired me to set up a Go Fund Me page, is the bathroom.
"It currently only has a shower and to be suitable it really needs a bath and handrails to make it MS friendly."
Mr Sharp, 32, says even when struggling to stay on his feet and living in a building site, Brian says to him 'there's worse-off people than me'.
"But Brian had no choice but to medically retire," said Mr Sharp.
"He couldn't continue operationally in the fire service and there was no other alternative for him.
"He had to start claiming his pension immediately. That pension, due to the early claim, is worth less than half a month than what it would have been if Brian could see out his time."
To donate visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/1sylfasvio
More by this authorMarijke Hall
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