A Dunstable family who lost their ‘pack leader’ mum to a sudden heart attack returned home from a trip to find their house had been given a makeover by the local community.
Anita De Silva was just 36 when she died on a plane returning from a holiday in Ibiza in June, leaving behind daughters Uchenna and Sakora, son Lamin, and partner Tyrone.
Tyrone took the children to his native Liverpool for a four-week break and returned at the end of August to find their Oakwood Avenue home painted, carpeted and furnished.
The redecorating was the handiwork of friend Debbie Linsey, who recruited a team from the local community to give the grieving family a lift. The gesture was even a surprise to the three children.
Debbie said: “The day I got the call to say Anita had died the world stopped still. I can’t remember ever being that deeply shocked of being told that a friend had died.
“We were all at a loss with the next step of how to help Tyrone and the children. There was almost too much to sort out, and where do you start?
“It was like a deck of cards being thrown into the air, which one do you catch first to sort out?
“After talking to a few friends who had lost their partner, the main thing was that they all found it very difficult to live in the same house after the funeral.”
The front room was painted, skirting glossed, a new light was fitted, a red throw and new cushions on the sofa.
Lamin’s room was given a lick of paint, new curtain rail, and curtains, new duvet cover and television to finish off the room.
The girls’ room had the same makeover , including a new lampshade and new duvets covers. The bathroom was also painted from top to bottom.
Tyrone said: “I’d like to send a real thank you to Debbie, Alison, Ian, Shannon, Nicki, Steve, Donna, Andy, Paul, Jo, Daley and Troy for the amazing job they’ve done.
“It was so thoughtful, and has been a real lift to the family.”
Debbie added: “To our one-in-a-million Anita, you are loved and never forgotten.”