Giving Chris his home back - the best Christmas present

For years, Chris Mullin had hidden from his family the fact he was living in unbelievable squalor.

Thursday, 21st December 2017, 2:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st December 2017, 2:20 pm
Contractor Toby Coldecott and Mr Mullins nephew Richard Evans outside his home which is being renovated

As he battled depression after the death of his mother and the loss of his job, his home fell into disrepair and he even lived without running water for five years.

Embarrassed by the condition of the house he had lived in with his parents for more than 40 years, he didn’t even feel he could call a plumber when a burst pipe caused severe damage.

Instead, he turned the water off at the mains.

Toby Coldecott from MLS Group has started work on the project, which should be finished by February

It was only years later when he was taken into hospital with kidney trauma that his family realised how 66-year-old Mr Mullin had been living.

But now, tradesman have teamed up to completely renovate the property in a DIY SOS-style project which will be finished by February.

Rich Evans, Mr Mullin’s nephew, said: “My uncle has always been a very kind and caring man, putting others’ needs before his own, but we had no idea how unhappy he had become, as we were never invited to his home and instead would meet him in other places, so none of us had any idea how bad the conditions had become inside his home.

“When he went into hospital, my sister and I had to gather some belongings for him and upon entering the house, were shocked with what we found.

The exterior of the house in Moorfield Road

“His back door was broken and wide open, he had no running water and with a huge hole in the roof, the cold and damp had badly affected the entire property, he had been living in squalor.

“At first we didn’t know which way to turn and with my uncle being very ill in hospital, we called a few people to see how we might go about repairing the house.”

However, the scale of the task in front of them was daunting.

Mr Evans added: “My friend of 30 years, Toby Coldecott, is one of the managers at project management firm, MLS Group and he said would visit the house to see the extent of the works.”

It's a Christmas challenge for the team

“Between our family members and some money my uncle had saved, we have managed to pay for the works to be completed, but knowing the desperate situation we were in, MLS Group said they would take care of the entire 
project at cost.

“In all honestly, we couldn’t believe it.

“Having already shown a number of separate tradespeople around the house, the job was going to be a nightmare for us to manage and it would cost a fortune, money that neither my uncle or our family could afford.

“You can never account for the kindness of strangers and we feel this is a great story to tell just before Christmas.”

Toby Coldecott from MLS Group has started work on the project, which should be finished by February

Workmen have entirely stripped the property out, back to bare bricks and will be replacing the floors, flooring, kitchen, bathroom and fully decorating the two-bedroom terrace property in Moorfield Road.

Mike Lingard Smith, managing director of MLS Group, says: “When Toby approached me about his friend, I knew we had to help. Mr Mullin’s situation had spiralled out of control and before he knew it, was living in a poor state, all the while managing to keep his affairs to himself.

“I just thought, this could happen to anyone, a series of tragic incidents have led to Mr Mullin’s decline and through no fault of his own he had lost his way in life.

“It is great to see people wanting to help others in their time of need.”

The exterior of the house in Moorfield Road
It's a Christmas challenge for the team