HE normally spends his time helping others...
But the tables were turned on a pillar of a South Yorkshire community when people he devoted time to helping pitched in to give him a surprise.
It was lights, camera, action for modest Mark Fretter when TV crews turned up at his home in Goldthorpe.
The 53-year-old got the shock of his life as he prepared to depart on the school run to find presenter Amanda Lamb on his doorstep.
The father-of-two, who has been a volunteer community first responder in Dearne Valley for the past two years, had just minutes to get his luggage together before he and wife Andrea were whisked off on a five-star break to the Yorkshire Dales, which he believed had been arranged by producers and South Yorkshire Ambulance Service for a new show.
But unbeknown to the retired firefighter, his wife was in on the act too, and she knew the surprises did not stop there.
Mark arrived home after the spa break to find their house had been given a huge makeover with the help of volunteers from the local community – many of whom he has treated as a first aider in the past.
The scenes were broadcast last night as part of Channel 4’s new series You Deserve This House, which rewards people who do community work.
Mark said: “They packed us off and said we’re sending you on a spa break. It was really nice to go away, even though the cameras were following us around most of the time. When we got back I thought that was that, but as I pulled into the drive some crew came at me again with microphones.
“I didn’t know what was going on until Amanda came out from our house and I noticed things inside were different.”
An army of volunteers and professional decorators had worked against the clock to give Mark, Andrea and their daughters Leila, eight and Harmoni, six, a revamped living room, hallway, stairs and toy room. They were all there to see Mark’s reaction as he arrived back.
Mark said: “I got a bit of a shock. I take the children to school and then I’m on-call. Some days I can have two or three call-outs, so DIY jobs don’t tend to get finished. It was great to see that people who I have been out to had remembered me.”