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05th May 2024

British plumber’s invoice goes viral after he fixes boiler of terminally-ill 91-year-old

Charlie Herbert


Following an investigation led by the BBC, it is alleged that plumber, James Anderson, had fabricated numerous stories about himself to paint himself as a hero.

The original story we published goes as follows.

A British plumber went viral after he fixed the boiler of a terminally-ill 91-year-old and decided not to charge her a penny.

Burnley plumber James Anderson was called out to fix the woman’s leaked boiler, but after arriving at her home found her on palliative care for advanced stage leukaemia.

He had been called to the property by the woman’s daughter, Christine, who was worried about her mother being cold in her own home.

After he carried out the work, he handed the pensioner an invoice totalling £0 and promised to be on standby for her 24 hours a day.

The invoice he sent read: “Calllout to Boiler high pressure and 2 leaks… lady is 91 years of age acute leukaemia end of life care Amount 0.00

“No charge for this lady under any circumstances. We will be available 24 hour to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible.

Stunned by his generosity, Christine later shared the invoice on Facebook, describing Anderson as an “angel dressed as a plumber.”

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News in 2019 about the act of kindness, Christine said: “I just burst into tears when I read the email from James. It was just so kind.

“I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I rang him because I couldn’t believe my eyes and I couldn’t understand what was happening.

“When I told him I wanted to make a donation, he just said to buy my mum some flowers. I was so warmed by his kindness – it’s the little things.

“We are going through a stressful time and have been absolutely overwhelmed by kindness.”

Anderson said: “I went round on Sunday and it was clear that the expansion vessel in the boiler had gone.

“But for the next few days, I popped into her house every morning and sometimes in the afternoon and evening to check on the boiler so that her house would be kept warm.

“When I first visited the lady, she was just lying on a bed chair in her living room and she didn’t look too well. I had to help and I can’t not do it for free.

“At first, the lady – Christine – didn’t understand what I meant when I’d said it was free. She was absolutely over the moon and amazed.”

Anderson in fact runs a company devoted to offering discounted plumbing to the elderly and vulnerable. The not-for-profit Burnley-based business is called Depher, which stands for Disabled and Elderly Plumbing and Heating Emergency Response.

He works on a volunteer basis and take no wages for his work, and Depher relies on public donations to cover all labour and materials.

Having been established in 2017, it has since supported more than 17,000 people.

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