They say real heroes don’t wear capes and this has never been truer when it comes to Burnley’s James Anderson (not the cricketer).
James is a plumber who has refused to charge vulnerable customers for fixing their pipes and boilers during the covid-19 pandemic and has since spent £50,000 helping those in need.
The 52-year-old had previously owned a private firm, but decided to shut it down and begin operating a non-for-profit company in 2017 called Depher – Disabled and Elderly Plumbing and Heating Emergency Response.
Since starting Depher, James has helped thousands of people with their plumbing needs but also with extra help, including settling bailiff bills for people unable to pay them, buying PPE for care homes and the NHS and also setting up a food bank.
Mr Anderson said to Metro, “We gave out £16,000 worth of PPE and almost 7,000 food parcels during the first lockdown. We also did surprise birthday parties for children, 30 of them. We were paying bills for people who couldn’t afford to pay and we did about nine free boilers as well as sorting bathrooms for those hit by rogue traders.”
However, with winter likely to be an even busier period than the last few months, James is concerned about how much expenditure is going to be necessary over the next few months and has appealed for help with funding to continue Depher’s charitable work.
“It depends how bad the winter is and that’s a big question mark. (If) it’s a bad winter, we are going to use a lot of money.
“We have got to focus on the elderly and disabled over the winter.”
Over £12,000 has been raised via a GoFundMe page, which will allow James to continue supporting the community over winter, but it is believed Depher needs another £10,000 to survive until the new year.
“I am just hoping, and praying and wishing we do get through.
“I’ll be honest, I am a little scared, going into a winter where we don’t know what we are going to get, with Covid on top of everything. It’s a nightmare to plan. Sometimes I wake up three or four times a night with anxiety because I don’t know what is going to happen. But I have got to carry on. It’s to save lives.”
You can donate to the fundraising project HERE