Mystery benefactor 'shames' insurer by paying for St Austell cottage repairs
A mystery benefactor has put his hand in his pocket to the tune of £24,000 to pay for the rebuilding of a collapsed wall at the cottage of an 88-year-old D-Day veteran and his wife.
The incredible act of generosity came after insurance chiefs refused to pay for repairs to the exterior cob wall at Gordon and Betty Fowle's home in Cornwall.
Former Royal Navy serviceman Mr Fowle and his wife Betty, also aged 88 and who is in a wheelchair, were left homeless after the cold, wet weather brought the wall down last month.
With work on the site due to begin today, the great-grandparents, who have lived at the cottage for 40 years, said they were "absolutely delighted".
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Mrs Fowle said the couple couldn't thank the man, who lives in the same village as them at Polgooth, St Austell, enough. She said: "It's wonderful – really wonderful that somebody would do this for us. We are very, very grateful to him. It's quite overwhelming really. We'd like to say a big thank-you to him."
Mr Fowle, who was only a teenager when he took part in the D-Day Landings of 1944, said: "It's tremendous – it really is. This man's unbelievable generosity has taken a huge, huge weight off our minds and we can't thank him enough."
The couple had faced an uncertain future after the Prudential refused to pay for the damage and had been given a roof over their heads by friends in the village. They had believed their £500-a-year home insurance policy would meet repairs, but the insurance giant said frost had caused the carnage, which they were not covered for.
Mr Fowle had been standing near the wall on January 26 just moments before it crumbled, narrowly avoiding serious injury.
Locksmith James Flynn, 43, who is married to the couple's grand-daughter, said: "His incredible act has shamed the Prudential.
"He has stepped forward to help Gordon and Betty on pure humanitarian grounds, which is what the insurance company should have done."
Initially it had been feared repairing the wall would cost up to £30,000, but a Bodmin-based builder, Mark Williams of KBM Ltd, had managed to bring the price down.
Mr Flynn said: "Big thanks to Mark as well – he gave us a brilliant quote and he's reworked his schedule to begin working on the wall today, which means Gordon and Betty will be back in their home so much quicker.
"It's really touched us how the local community have really pulled out all the stops for them – they're all absolutely brilliant."
Prudential bosses had insisted the damage had happened over a long period of time and was down to water getting in to the wall and then expanding and contracting with the changes in temperature. They maintained that home insurance policies do not generally provide cover for damage caused by property age or maintenance-related issues.