A familiar face on the BBC’s DIY SOS was stunned when his old gym teacher of 55 years ago turned up at the show’s North Devon Big Build.

He did he do? Frank Antoniazzi rates his former pupil and DIY SOS electrician Billy Byrne after meeting him for the first time in 55 years. Picture: Tony GussinHe did he do? Frank Antoniazzi rates his former pupil and DIY SOS electrician Billy Byrne after meeting him for the first time in 55 years. Picture: Tony Gussin

Much-loved electrician and show joker Billy Byrne was for once lost for words when Frank Antoniazzi from Combe Martin arrived on the High Bickington set where the team is helping Lucy and Jan Collins and their five children.

Two of the couple's triplet daughters have a rare kidney disease meaning they need dialysis in Bristol several days a week and so one of the parents is almost permanently on the motorway - DIY SOS is working to change that.

Despite not having spoken for more than half a century, Mr Antoniazzi and Mr Byrne were soon chatting away about the days when they were teacher and pupil at Howard Secondary Modern School in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire.

Mr Byrne, aged 69, was at the school from 1960 to 1965 and he said Mr Antoniazzi 'made him a footballer' after putting him in the first year team.

Mr Byrne said: "We had a great football team and we had the likes of Johnny Gillwood playing for us, who was a professional player at Spurs for five years.

"It's just an amazing thing - we have a reunion in October and I am going to get in touch with Frank and invite him down.

"Mr Antoniazzi was just a terrific guy. I am what I am now because of our teachers, we had discipline, we had respect, we had everything."

Mr Antoniazzi said he had seen the DIY SOS article in the Gazette about its nine day North Devon build.

He said: "It's fantastic, it has made my day. I watch it on the TV and thought how am I going to get in touch with Billy. When I saw that article two weeks ago I thought I have to turn up.

"I put Billy in my first year team but I had three other parents saying he shouldn't be in the team, their sons are better than Billy."

The Big Build at High Bickington will end on Thursday, August 1 and Mr Byrne said the community had really come together, with hundreds of trades people and volunteers helping out.

He said: "It's unbelievable, that house is full of such good-natured people getting that family back together.

"It's been a brilliant turn out. The thing about DIY SOS is people come here, no-one is getting paid and they want to do it."

The show is expected to be aired some time next year.

READ MORE: DIY SOS will help Devon family in desperate need .