Tuesday, July 24, 2012
A former Norwich soldier injured in a bomb blast in Afghanistan and his family have been given a garden makeover by television’s Alan Titchmarsh.
Ian Costello, 29, his wife, student health visitor Lindsey Costello, 30, and their three children were in for the shock of their lives when the ITV1 Love Your Garden team turned up on their doorstep and then moved in for two days to transform their dull back yard into a horticultural haven.
The Costellos, from Norwich, were nominated for a complete garden makeover in recognition of how they have all coped with the recent tough few years recovering after Mr Costello was caught in an IED blast while serving in Afghanistan as a Trooper with the Light Dragoons Regiment.
Their full makeover story will feature in the ‘Love Your Garden’ episode due to be broadcast on ITV1 at 8pm tonight, when Mr Titchmarsh and his team of David Domoney, Katie Rushworth and Frances Tophill will unveil their work.
Mr Costello was three months into his first tour with the Dragoons when he was blown out of the army vehicle in which he was travelling in the blast in 2009. He suffered head injuries and his spine was broken in numerous places, as well as both of his legs.
Despite months of intense rehabilitation to try to get back to a level of fitness so he could continue his duties, and with much support from Army welfare teams, it was confirmed that he will be medically discharged from the Army in October this year.
This has meant the Costellos had to move out of their married quarters home at the Swanton Morley Barracks and start a whole new life in ‘civvy street’.
They were helped to find alternative housing by the Haig Housing Trust, which nominated the family for the garden transformation at their war memorial bungalow in Mousehold Lane.
Mrs Costello, a qualified nurse who is currently training to become a health visitor with Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, said they had no idea they were in for a complete makeover, until the famous gardener, with a team of landscapers and television crew, knocked at her door on Monday, July 2.
She said: “I must admit I was a bit gobsmacked when Alan Titchmarsh was stood on my doorstep. We were all shipped off to Sprowston Manor while the crew moved in and got to work and we weren’t allowed to see anything until the grand reveal. It was a mad few days and has simply been beyond our wildest dreams.
Although they love their home, space can be quite limited in the bungalow for the growing family which includes three-year-old Lucas, Kaysha, nine, Oliver, 11 and family dog, Louis.
Mrs Costello said: “When you live on an Army camp the kids can enjoy a lot more independence and get out and about as they are in a secure place, surrounded by lots of their friends and other families who are all in the same boat as you. It’s like a big extended family in a sense. Moving off camp has meant they’ve lost their independence a bit.
“That’s why the garden makeover is so fantastic. They’ve made this beautiful place for the kids to play, for us to relax, and for the whole family and our friends to get together and enjoy just being us. We are just so overwhelmed.
“Ian and I could never have created this on our own, and we can’t thank people enough for being so thoughtful of and generous to our family.”
Norfolk hot tub dealer Wensum Pools will feature on the programme.
- See Wednesday’s paper to read more about the family’s reaction to the makeover.