By Connie Osborne 11/05 Updated: 11/05 10:16
A BATCHLEY resident has dedicated his spare time to help an elderly man rebuild his life and take his first steps on the road to recovery from alcoholism.
The pair first met a year ago at Batchley pond, where Jay Powell, of Lock Close, fishes regularly.
He said he noticed 73-year-old, ex-Irish guard Fred Denning alone and drinking by the pond. After seeing him on several occasions they got chatting and became friends.
“I started speaking to Fred to find out why he was always there,” Mr Powell said.
“I quickly learnt he had no family here and had recently had a fall in town. He had no-one to help him and look after him, I knew he was struggling.
“I met some of his friends and kept hearing the horror stories of his flat. I went to see it and realised how much help Fred actually needed.”
Although the council had deep-cleaned Mr Denning’s flat in Sanders Close before, things began to get on top of him and his living conditions deteriorated rapidly.
The 29-year-old added: “I cleaned his whole flat out. It was really bad. I don’t think anyone should have to live like that, it all had to be thrown out.”
With the help of Redditch based charity Boomerang, which re-uses unwanted household goods and furniture, everything was taken to the tip and replaced.
Pauline Thorne, manager at Boomerang, said: “Fred’s flat was in a really bad state and we just wanted to help in any way we could.”
Cash Converters have donated a Freeview box and Macmillan donated clothes along with residents providing cleaning products.
Mr Denning has admitted he needs help and is willing to let people support him and Jay plans to help him along his recovery, accompanying him to the GP shortly.
“I feel great, I should have done this years ago. I want to say thank you to Jay and everyone who has helped me,” he said.
“I thought no-one cared but now they do. There are not enough people around like Jay.”
Any interested in volunteering or donating furniture to Boomerang call Pauline on 01527 68250.
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