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17 Oct 2019 18:04
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  •   Home > News > International

    Plumber refuses to charge 91yo woman with leukaemia

    James Anderson runs a not-for-profit plumbing company which helps elderly and disabled customers by heavily discounting their emergency repair jobs in winter.

    A plumber from Burnley in the UK has gone viral after refusing to charge a 91-year-old woman with leukaemia for repair work on her boiler.

    James Anderson has run a not-for-profit plumbing company, Depher CIC, since 2017, and its Facebook page is full of warm thanks from clients who he has helped with their plumbing needs.

    It was Christine Rowland's post on her own page on September 10, featuring a picture of an invoice for 0 pounds, which drew worldwide attention to Mr Anderson's work.

    "Went to mum's yesterday and, big drama, boiler was leaking. I phoned my sister Delta who managed to contact a plumber, James Anderson," she wrote.

    "He called in to fix the boiler. I asked how much for the cost, and he said he would email me the invoice."

    The invoice for no charge also states: "Lady is 91 years of age with acute leukaemia, end of life care.

    "No charge for this lady under any circumstances.

    "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

    "As a friend said, an angel dressed as a plumber," Ms Rowland wrote.

    "How kind is this?"

    The plumbing company runs a crowdfunding campaign in order to be able to heavily discount customers who are unable to pay for their emergency winter repairs.

    "Depher CIC is here to stop the suffering and dying of the elderly and disabled who are left alone in the cold without any financial help," says a statement on the crowdfunding website.

    Mr Anderson told the BBC he wanted to help people in need maintain their independence, and prevent them from falling into debt.

    "There are too many elderly and disabled people suffering in silence," he said.

    "They don't like asking for help. They don't want to be a burden.

    "We take away the burden, the stigma."

    Mr Anderson told the BBC he was about 8,000 pounds ($14,625) in debt but hoped the newfound attention to his cause would help boost the crowdfunding account.

    He also said it took him a while to realise his invoice had gone viral.

    "I was at my grandson's christening," he said.

    "I got a couple of likes and cheers on Sunday," but since then the reaction has been "absolutely global".

    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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