A mother who was left with a “water damaged shell” has thanked the members of the community that came to her aid.
Builders left mum-of-four Anne Alwell with an empty shell after she paid him £10,000 for an extension.
But after an appeal in The Courier back in November 2015, several offers of help came forward - and the extension has now finally been completed.
On top of that, Mrs Alwell has now managed to get back £5,442.50 through the courts.
She said: “Thanks to The Courier I had many offers of help from local builders, carpenters and plasterers offering their time. I also had builders merchants and other people who offered free materials.
“People I didn’t know at all offered help as well as friends, neighbours and members of the public, who I didn’t know. I would like to say a big thank you to all of them.”
Mrs Alwell called in builders to put up an extension on her home in Edmondes Close in the Woodloes in April 2015.
But after she handed over £10,000 and waited eight months, she was left with nothing but an empty shell and little hope of seeing her money or completion of the work.
She said: “He started work in April 2015 and disappeared off the job in November 2015. The job should have taken a maximum of six weeks. It was like a bomb site.
“I found the builder through recommendations from people I know. They couldn’t believe it and they feel awful.”
The extension was left open to the elements because only the walls had been built.
But thanks to the many offers of help and donations, a roof and doors and windows were put on to the extension so the building was at least sealed from the elements by Christmas 2015.
Mrs Alwell said: “I had my elderly mother coming for Christmas and the work should have been done by then, she was 88 at the time and I wanted to get everything sorted so I had my own family staying but it was like a building site. It was awful.
“For him to do that when I had children and grandchildren and to leave it with no doors on.
“We still had a good time and a nice Christmas but it meant there was no where for my mum to sleep.
After securing the extension for the winter period Mrs Alwell sorted the rest of the building work month by month and eventually got it finished later in the year.
After her ordeal that lasted a year, Mrs Alwell is now advising others not to make the same mistake she did.
She said: “I wouldn’t wish any one else to go through this. I want to make people aware not to pay money up front like I did and to get a proper written contract when you are getting work done and not put your money up front before they get the job done.
“Thankfully the building is all done now and I have some of my money back by fighting it and not letting him win. Thank you again to everybody who offered their help.”