Britain’s kindest plumber almost bankrupted himself by spending thousands of his hard-earned pounds fixing plumbing, boilers and central heating for 3,000 elderly and vulnerable people – for free.
Generous James Anderson came close to putting himself out of business by spending way more than he could afford on parts to help vulnerable and elderly people – including expensive boilers.
The 52-year-old reckons he’s helped about 3,000 locals around Burnley and south Lancashire over the last two years, and has vowed to carry on his charitable cause – because he doesn’t want to see anyone suffer.
James, who runs not-for-profit plumbing firm Depher, recently went viral when he billed a 91-year-old woman a grand total of £0.00 for buying and installing a new boiler.
A bill online posted by Christine Rowlands went viral after James helped out her mother, who suffers from leukemia.
On the bill, he wrote: “No charge for this lady under any circumstances.
“We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible.”
James said: “She deserved it. She was a lovely lady.
“Her daughter contacted us as she was terrified her mum would be without hot water as the weather is getting colder.
“As soon as she told me the situation, we said she would not be spending a penny under any circumstances.
“She’ll be on our books forever. For as long as she’s with us, she’ll be getting free heating and plumbing services for life.”
On the reaction, he called it “something else”.
He added: “She didn’t have to post the bill on social media and we didn’t ask her.
“The reaction has been great.
“We’re just trying to do the right thing.”
Since 2017, Depher in Burnley has helped 3,000 elderly people and those with debilitating illnesses.
James assesses who he helps carefully, using a criteria that determines their needs, difficulties and costs.
During the spring and summer months, the majority of clients are given a 25% discount, but during the colder months, the services for the clients are free.
Also, the kind-hearted workman gives as many struggling customers as possible free service all year – and hopes to increase that number if he can source more charitable backers.
James started the initiative when he was asked to look at an elderly man’s boiler as a second opinion, after another plumber quoted £5,500 for a new one.
He said: “I looked at it and he definitely didn’t need a new boiler. It just needed a fix up.
“I realised that so many people, elderly and disabled, are being defrauded.
“I thought there must be something I can do.”
However, all of it comes at a cost, and James has wracked-up massive debts.
He said: “I was on the verge of it all falling apart but I pulled it back and continued with the fight.
“One day, I would love to make my company national.
“I would love for there to be a helpline that anyone over 65 or who is disabled can call that would be able to receive free plumbing.
“It would be great if we could get some government funding.
“A national helpline would be the dream.”
James has asked anyone wishing to donate to his cause to please visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/disabled-elderly-free-plumbing-heating-service