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Widow gives home a new lease of life
12:00pm Friday 11th October 2013 in News
A WOMAN transformed a rundown hop kiln into an impressive home as a labour of love to cope with the death of her husband.
Irene Skellam says she carried out the extensive renovation of the Three Kilns at Little Marcle, near Ledbury, to deal with her grief following the sudden and tragic death of her partner, Rick, in 2006, aged 56.
The 62-year-old is “very proud” of the work, which took about two years and is set to appear on BBC One’s Britain’s Empty Homes next week.
Mrs Skellam said: “We had two (properties) left to renovate but my husband then died suddenly in his sleep from a blood clot.
“I then decided to renovate the Three Kilns. It was a project which got me through my grief really.”
She added she didn’t want to sell up and leave, instead completing the work as a tribute to her husband and allowing herself a new start.
“I just felt I wanted to finish the project for him – we had set our hearts on it,” she said.
“We had planted 2,000 trees in the wood and really had a vision and I wanted to complete that vision for him.”
Mrs Skellam says her late husband, who was a university lecturer, was a self-taught builder and would have been “really chuffed” with the finished project.
“I think he would tell me off because I have spent too much money but apart from that I think he would be very proud.”
The couple bought a larger property next door in 1993 which included planning permission for other buildings on the land, including the Three Kilns. The main house was renovated and turned into a bed and breakfast before Mr Skellam’s death.
Mrs Skellam finished the renovation work in 2008 and, a year later, was nominated for the Master Builder Awards.
She said she enjoyed the visit by the film crew and is looking forward to watching it next week.
“It was lovely (the filming),” she said.
“It was just two guys who came down. They were here for six hours and interviewed me for 55 minutes.
“I didn’t know what they were going to ask me so it was quite spontaneous. I quite enjoyed it.”
The show, which is hosted by Joe Crowley who has also been involved with the hit BBC programme the One Show, will be screened on Thursday, October 17 .
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