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Glossop community rallies to fix up pub regular’s home

Carl Marshall in old home Image copyright The Oakwood
Image caption Carl Marshall is described as a “loveable character” who is well-known around the town

A popular pub regular has thanked a town who rallied to give his “appalling” home a makeover.

Carl Marshall, 89, left his house in Glossop a year ago over fears it was bad for his health.

It had no heating or carpets and was plagued by damp and mice – conditions that shocked those who saw it.

To help, the community of the Derbyshire town came together over 11 months to completely rebuild the inside of the house.

Now, thanks to their time and money, Mr Marshall has been able to return home in time for his 90th birthday on 16 November.

‘Such a gent’

The retired park ranger, who has no family but is a regular at The Oakwood pub, said he was “blown away” by the support from the town he has lived in since 1941.

“Thank you, thank you,” he said. “What a pleasure it is to be home, I’m thrilled.”

Image copyright The Oakwood
Image caption Carl Marshall is a popular regular at The Oakwood in Glossop

Mr Marshall had moved into an outhouse 28 years ago after selling his family home.

He said he was almost hospitalised at one point because the poor living conditions had made his health so bad.

The state of it was first noticed by pub staff.

Landlady Alison Swithenbank said: “It was not fit to live in. It’s shocking but Carl is such a gent, he didn’t want to bother anyone so no-one knew. But when we saw it we had to do something.”

Image copyright The Oakwood
Image copyright The Oakwood
Image caption The old interior had to be ripped out and completely rebuilt inside

In total about 50 volunteers worked on the project, raising £16,000 in donated cash and materials. The main two volunteers, Tom Styles and Les Wilcox, worked about 1,800 hours between them.

Image copyright The Oakwood

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Image copyright The Oakwood
Image caption Les Wilcox estimates that with £16,000 worth of donations, they carried out work that would have cost £80,000 commercially

Miss Swithenback said: “We embarked on it with a bit of naivety, I think that was required – if we had known it would never have got off the ground.

“But you can see it in his face, it has given him years of life back.”

Mr Marshall added: “I have learnt so much about friendship, not just in words but in deeds. I will keep on saying thank you.”

Image caption Mr Marshall has written a poem thanking the volunteers, which begins “friendship is a priceless gift”

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