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Laois twins to the fore as popular RTE TV show comes to the rescue to help Meath family

Andrew and James Baldwin DIY SOS

Laois twins were to the fore as popular RTE TV show DIY SOS came to the rescue of a Meath family last weekend.

The show, presented by Baz Ashmawy, was in Longwood in Meath where scores of volunteers came forward to help the Parsons.

The Parsons are an amazing young family whose house was just not suitable for their needs.

Four-year-old Josh has a developmental disorder known as Smith-Magennis Syndrome, while his eight-year-old brother Ryan lives with autism and sensory issues.

Their mother, Jennifer, has to deal with her own medical issues which will cause her mobility to greatly deteriorate over the next few years.

Dad, Jim, is a former military man who retired earlier this year to care for his family full-time.

As part of RTÉ’s programme DIY SOS: The Big Build, presenter Baz Ashmawy and his team fully renovated the Parsons home, transforming the entire property in just nine days.

Gas Networks Ireland funded a new gas boiler for efficient and reliable heating, and a beautiful new garden for the family.

Two members of the Gas Networks Ireland’s team to help in the renovation were the Baldwin twins – Andrew and James – from Barrowhouse.

The Baldwins have been with the national utility seven years, having joined as apprentices after completing the Leaving Cert in Ardscoil na Tríonóide in Athy.

They are now qualified fitters working to connect new homes and businesses to the national gas network.

“Doing a four-year pipe fitting apprenticeship with Gas Networks Ireland was a brilliant experience,” Andrew said.

“Not only did I get to work with my hands as well as my head, and learn from people who have years of experience, but I also got to work all over Ireland and spend time in both the Munster Technological University in Cork and the Dundalk Institute of Technology,” James added.

Presenter Baz Ashmawy said: “Thank you very much Gas Networks Ireland, you are legends, we wouldn’t have been able to do it without you.

“You made a big difference to DIYSOS Ireland and a big difference to the Parsons family.”

Commenting after the RTÉ show aired on Easter Sunday, Gas Networks Ireland’s Social Sustainability Manager Gráinne O’Reilly, said: “Supporting local communities is very important to Gas Networks Ireland.

“We were delighted to play a part in transforming the home, and hopefully the lives, of the Parsons family.

“They are an incredible family and we wish them all the very best in their ‘new’ home.”

SEE ALSO – Plan in place to construct 54 new homes in Laois town following Council announcement

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.