When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Goodwill keeps pensioners warm
A heart-warming display of goodwill has transformed the lives of an elderly couple.
It means Cyril and Maddie Hicks will have a fully heated home for the first time in months.
As reported by the Daily Echo, 87-year-old war veteran Cyril, who suffers from a severe chest complaint, and his severely disabled wife, for whom he is the main carer, had been left in the cold after their boiler broke down last September.
Warm Front, the government body that hands out grants to help vulnerable people keep warm, told the Fareham couple they would have to wait six months for a replacement because they weren't a priority case.
Cyril and 85-year-old Maddie, who is paraplegic and suffers from Alzheimer's disease, were forced to abandon the top floor of their home in Margarita Road, Fareham, because it was too cold.
They have been heating the ground floor with a series of electric heaters, which meant many electric cables lying around causing a serious hazard.
Their story just pulled on my heart strings. It beggars belief that these poor people had been treated like this.Keith Gillyon
Earlier this month the Royal British Legion, which has been trying to help the couple, moved them into a care home.
This week contractors told the couple they would have to pay £1,500 on top of the £2,700 grant and that the work would not begin until eight weeks after their cheque was received.
But as they were preparing to send off the money, a knight in shining armour came to the rescue in the shape of Southampton plumber Keith Gillyon.
Having read of their plight - highlighted as part of the Daily Echo's Winter Warmers campaign - the kind-hearted tradesman decided he had to do something to help.
He got in touch with the paper to offer to carry out the work of installing a new boiler and complete heating system for free.
"Their story just pulled on my heart strings. It beggars belief that these poor people had been treated like this," said Mr Gillyon, 44, who runs Keith Gillyon Plumbing, Heating & Building Services.
He rang some of his contacts to see if he could convince them to donate the materials necessary to replace their heating system.
"As it was, I didn't really have to persuade anyone because they were more than happy to help," said Mr Gillyon.
"It was quite refreshing that everyone was so willing to do something really nice."
Thanks to donations from Heating Plumbing Supplies in Hedge End, South County Builders of Woolston, Waine Pybus Electrical Services, and Broag boilers, work has now started on making the Hicks' home habitable again.
Jim Cunningham, the Legion's case officer who has been helping the Hicks, said the work meant the couple should be back home this week.
"To say that both Cyril and the Royal British Legion are delighted with this magnanimous response is an understatement," he said.
"They were destined to spend a few more months in residential care while awaiting heating to be restored to their house."