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One a day Live

'I can't look at a picture of Michael yet': Dermot Bannon remembers Room To Improve star

Room To Improve host Dermot Bannon has poignantly remembered Michael Stokes, the 15-year-old who appeared on the architect's TV show.

Michael passed away last May but he had captured the hearts of the nation in 2016 when Dermot redesigned his foster parent's house.

Dermot with Michael on Room To Improve.

Michael went to live with Ann and Barry Higgins after Dermot redesigned their home.

"Thinking back, it was a very normal project," said Dermot, remembering Michael and the show on RTÉ Radio 1's The Ryan Tubridy Show.

"I first time I met Ann and Barry obviously, they were describing Michael and I kind of...it became a project about disability.

"But I hadn't met Michael at this stage. Within five minutes of meeting Michael he just completely disarmed you.

"He had this amazing charisma and he had this amazing personality and it became a project about Ann, Barry and Michael. Not Ann and Barry creating a house for somebody who had a disability.

"It was an incredible project to work on. It's one that people still talk to me about.

Dermot said he was "devastated" for Ann and Barry after Michael's death.

"I think about them every single day. I can't look at a picture of Michael yet. I can't. It's horrendous.

"But I'm very thankful that I got to meet him. I'm thankful that I knew him because he put a lot of perspective into my life at the time."

When asked by Tubridy what sort of perspective he found, Dermot said: "We were going through stuff at home with an illness. And we were struggling with that. It just put shape onto it.

"Michael no matter...when you saw [him] sometimes in the chair and the difficulty he had getting into the car and the difficulty he had in doing regular things and how he just...he did it and he sang.

He did it with joy. The littlest things in life made him so happy and he embraced them.

That taught me a huge amount. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Dermot described Michael as a beacon of light and said he was glad they got to do the show.

"He had such heart and I think people felt that from him.

"He did something in Ireland at that moment in time and it was very special."