Patrick Berry pictured with his partner Nicky Beaumont and their children Kai, Rainah and Nova outside their home in Assumption Road, Athlone. The renovation of the house will feature on RTE’s ‘DIY SOS: The Big Build Ireland’ this weekend.

RTÉ to show revamp of injured Westmeath firefighter’s home

Patrick 'Pa' Berry, the Athlone firefighter who was seriously injured at a house fire in Mount Temple a year and a half ago, said he and his family were "excited and a little nervous" about seeing the renovation of their home feature in an RTÉ show airing this Sunday, April 2.

DIY SOS: The Big Build Ireland organised renovation works at the Assumption Road home of Pa, his partner Nicky and their children Kai, Rainah and Nova in March of last year.

A call for volunteers to help out with the project attracted a huge response at the time and now the episode of the Baz Ashmawy-hosted show will be broadcast to a national television audience on Sunday at 6.30pm.

Speaking to the Westmeath Independent this week, Pa said being part of the programme had been a memorable experience.

"We met some wonderful people, and they gave us a gift that we can never repay. It has been life-changing for us and gave us such a boost.

"People came from all over Ireland - most of them strangers to us - to travel here and take time off work (to help out). The production team were wonderful and made it easy for us.

“We had great local support - local businesses, tradespeople and the general public got involved, so we were amazed. It was kind of a whirlwind experience and something I look back fondly on.”

Pa and his family leaving their house prior to its renovation which will be shown on 'DIY SOS: The Big Build Ireland' Photo by Ruka Feso

Pa and his family moved out of the house for ten days - staying in an Airbnb outside the town - while the transformation of the property took place.

They have not seen their ‘DIY SOS’ episode, which was made by the production company Motive Television, so will be watching it on Sunday for the first time just like everyone else.

“We're not used to being on TV, so to be part of a production for a show on RTE was completely alien to us. But we enjoyed it and we’re certainly excited to see it,” he said.

The 41-year-old is still grappling with the aftermath of the wall collapse at the house in Mount Temple which left him with extensive injuries in October 2021. Multiple bones in his body were broken and he had to wear a full body and neck brace for months.

A year and a half later, he said there was still a distance to travel on his road to recovery.

He is suffering from chronic pain, particularly in his legs and back, and is likely to require an ankle replacement operation later this year on an ankle which sustained serious cartilage damage in the accident. It’s likely he will also require surgery on damage to his knee next year.

“I am still in a lot of pain. From what they’re telling me, that’s probably something I’m going to have to manage for the rest of my life,” he said.

“I am in a better position than I was twelve months ago, but I still have a way to go. I’m not out of the woods yet by any means.”

He said the aftermath of the accident also resulted in mental health challenges. “I’ve been in therapy for that, and the therapist says I have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), so I’m dealing with issues relating to that as well. So it’s been a tough road.”

The support of his family and friends will remain hugely important over the months and years ahead.

“It has taken a toll on my family - it’s not just me who’s affected, it’s all of us really. But the support is there. We’re working together, and we’re all there for each other. We’re just taking it head on,” he said.

* 'DIY SOS: The Big Build Ireland' featuring Pa Berry and his family will air on RTE One this Sunday, April 2, at 6.30pm.