A woman who faced emotional despair after an acrimonious divorce and hefty legal bills has got her life back thanks to a “fabulous bunch of rugby-playing girls”.
Fiona Scott-Dawe was packed off on an all-expenses weekend trip to London while her mates at Old Leamingtonians Rugby Club carried out a secret DIY transformation of her house.
Fiona once had a high-powered job at JLR Gaydon, part of the managing director’s executive office.
However, because of illness brought on by legal issues, including ownership of her house, she had to give it up.
And with mounting bills, she was unable to redecorate her home and carry out lots of repairs.
But that all changed when her rugger mates – and some of the men at the club – got to grips with her house in Leamington Road, Ryton.
Fiona said: “Little did I know that the wonderful weekend away was only a ruse to get me away from my house.”
And she returned home to a house full of rugby club friends, the scent of flowers and candles, the sight of redecorating, retiling and new worktops, and a leaky conservatory roof repaired.
Fiona said: “I did not cry, but I was overjoyed because before the DIY work my house was in such a terrible state.
“I never invited anyone to my house because it was in such a terrible state, but now I can invite people around.
“It’s changed my life – I can socialise now. I’ve got my life back.
“I want everyone to know what a fabulous bunch of girls Old Leamingtonians Ladies team are.
“It’s about the unity and friendly atmosphere you get in rugby and how they look after people. They have become my rock. They cared and looked after me during the dark days.
“I don’t feel worthy of all the effort that many at the club have put into this.”
Fiona started playing for the club 25 years and now, aged 54, still keeps her hand in with a few friendlies.
For many years she has cooked the after-match teas for the ladi-es’ team and also helped with meals for the male teams, and for all her work she was treated to the trip to London.
As well as not being able to pay house DIY and repair bills, Fiona did not want to spend money on the house while in the middle of an ownership battle.
Now with legal ownership of the house and working as an office manager, she said: “I was ill through all the trauma of what had happened.
“But now I am better, much, much better.”
Unknown to Fiona, her friends at the club set up a Facebook page for people to make cash donations for the DIY makevover, as well as the hire of dust sheets, paint strippers and the supply of materials.