A GROUP of tradespeople and businesses in Andover have come together to renovate a woman’s kitchen. 

Stella Boare, a 58-year-old woman who lives in Abbots Ann, was left with a poorly finished kitchen after paying a tradesman £700 to paint and tile her kitchen.

Upset at how the work had been left, she contacted Jamie Lucas, who runs maintenance firm Running Repairs. 

Jamie, 52, set up the maintenance business around his job as head of HR for Oxford University Officers’ Training Corps. 

He will be leaving the army after 33 years of service in September and he hopes to work in the film production industry but has set up Running Repairs as a stopgap. 

As a way of getting practice and promoting his new business, he posted on the Facebook page for his neighbourhood, Augusta Park, and lots of people responded.

He said: “At the start of the year, I did a lot of work for free. Basically, people let me practice in their houses! As I got more confident, I began to charge people a bit of money.”

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Stella spotted his post and got in touch about her kitchen, but when Jamie went round to give her a quote, he realised he couldn’t let her pay. And he set about rallying a team to tackle the job and set things right for her. 

The father-of-two said: “I went round and had a look at the work. This was an apparent professional contractor, who she’d paid £700. The sockets were wonky, and he hadn’t tiled properly around them.”

Jamie said he had “one of those real conscience moments” and “couldn’t make her pay again”.

Instead, he asked his contractor friends for help. Corey Livesy, of Livesy Electrical and Lorenzo Sammut of LS Carpentry and Construction - both also based in Augusta Park - agreed to give their time for free, as did decorator Rachel Parker of PAINTbyRachel in Perham Down. 

Andover Advertiser: Jamie Lucas

He also went to Topps Tiles in Andover, which provided the tiles and adhesive, while Brewers Decorator Centre donated paint.

Jamie said Stella was “in tears” when he told her that he had rallied a team to complete the work for free. 

They started the work about three weeks ago, and have been doing bits during their evenings and weekends, around their full-time jobs. 

Jamie added: “Sometimes it’s not about the money, it’s about community spirit, and helping people out when they need it.”

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