Nick Knowles commends Princes William and Harry for 'inspiring' work with veterans and 'brave' DIY SOS stint

Yahoo Celebrity UK
The Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Nick Knowles during a visit to the BBC's DIY SOS Team for The Big Build: Veteran's Special at a street in Manchester.
The Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Nick Knowles during a visit to the BBC's DIY SOS Team for The Big Build: Veteran's Special at a street in Manchester.

Nick Knowles has commended Princes William and Harry for their "inspiring" work with ex-military personnel as he's reflected on his time spent working with them on creating "Veterans' Village".

DIY SOS collaborated with the Royals to transform an entire street in Manchester into homes for veterans and their families in a 2015 two-part special.

Speaking to Yahoo UK about the experience of working with the brothers as DIY SOS: Homes for Veterans is re-shown on BBC One this week, Knowles shared: "They were great. I mean, I think they got involved and got stuck in and did a bit of laying in the back garden and a bit of painting. They were there a lot longer than they should have been.

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“They were actually very, very brave if you think about it, because they basically walked onto a site and we're surrounded by 1,000 builders all carrying nail guns and sharp tools.

Prince Harry (R) laughs next to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, as they tour a building site in Manchester on September 23, 2015, as part of their visit to the BBC's DIY SOS television show helping to renovate homes for ex-service personnel. (AFP / Phil Nobel/ Pool/ Alain Jocard/ Mandel Ngan/ Saul Loeb/ Oli Scarff/ Toru Yamanaka via Getty Images)
Prince Harry (R) laughs next to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, as they tour a building site in Manchester on September 23, 2015, as part of their visit to the BBC's DIY SOS television show helping to renovate homes for ex-service personnel. (AFP / Phil Nobel/ Pool/ Alain Jocard/ Mandel Ngan/ Saul Loeb/ Oli Scarff/ Toru Yamanaka via Getty Images)

"As you'd imagine, their security were having kittens. But they just went around and spoke to everybody, you know, stopped off and chatted to the neighbours, chatted to the workforce and then when they got to meet them, to introduce them to the recipients of the house, their knowledge and understanding of veterans issues was was truly inspiring."

Knowles, 57, is a long-time ambassador for charity Walking With The Wounded which helps veterans during their move from military to civilian life, and his passion for supporting veterans is one he shares with the Princes.

The Duke of Cambridge served in the Royal Navy, the British Army and the Royal Air Force over eight years, while the Duke of Sussex served as a Captain in the British Army, undertaking two tours in Afghanistan.

After leaving active service in the military in 2015, the Duke of Sussex has continued to work closely with ex-servicepersons and the armed forces, most notably through the creation of the Invictus Games.

Prince William and Prince Harry helped to renovate houses for ex-service personnel for DIY SOS. (Manchester, England, UK) KGC-375/STAR MAX/IPx
Prince William and Prince Harry helped to renovate houses for ex-service personnel for DIY SOS. (Manchester, England, UK) KGC-375/STAR MAX/IPx

"They don't just pay lip service to veterans charities, they are 100% involved and understand the mental difficulties as well as the physical difficulties that come with with having served your country and then finding yourself back in a sort of city stream," Knowles continued.

DIY SOS were able to build a hub for Walking With The Wounded in Manchester so the charity could assist veterans in the North West, including those residing in 'Veterans Village'.

Although the show finished work on the project several years ago, Knowles still revisits the street when he is in the area.

Read more: Prince William mucks in on DIY SOS: Grenfell TV special

He divulged: "I still go to Manchester every now and again for work, and not at the moment, obviously but when I do go up to Manchester, I always stop and park at the end of the road and when you look down the road, the kids are on their bicycles and the kids are kicking footballs around and then families have got little benches and chairs out the front of their house.

"They're all sat there with cups of tea chatting to each other, and it's like how community used to be."

Nick Knowles is a long time Ambassador for Walking With The Wounded and can be seen in DIY SOS: Homes for Veterans, Thursday on BBC One at 8:05pm.

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