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