Can you help mend Francesse’s wrecked Stevenage home in time for Christmas Day?

Francesse Graham in her wrecked kitchen

Francesse Graham in her wrecked kitchen - Credit: Archant

A retired midwife who served the NHS for 40 years will have to spend Christmas with no kitchen, running water, cooking facilities or fridge-freezer unless people with building skills can offer some seasonal goodwill.

Francesse Graham's kitchen pictured last week

Francesse Graham's kitchen pictured last week - Credit: Archant

Francesse Graham, 65, who lives in Sefton Road, Stevenage, and suffers from diabetes and heart problems, was devastated last May when a drain pipe in her kitchen erupted while she was having dinner with friends and flooded the downstairs of her home.

Being fully insured with Lloyds Bank, the divorced mum – who brought up her three children singlehandedly – expected the damage could be quickly fixed.

But six months later, the downstairs of her house is still in chaos.

The kitchen cupboards have been ripped out and not replaced, there are no carpets or flooring, and damp patches caused by the flooding have not been patched.

Francesse Graham

Francesse Graham - Credit: Archant


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Francesse has spent most of the past six months being put up in three budget hotels in Stevenage, but now – just before Christmas – Lloyds has told her that her hotel cover has run out so she has to go home.

Visibly upset and speaking in her devastated kitchen last week, Francesse told the Comet: “I’m really, really stressed. I always try my best to keep the house nice, but now I just can’t do anything.

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“I thought over the summer they might not be able to do the work because it was holiday time, and then in September I started phoning again.

“The kitchen cupboards were left in place for six months and the builders said they couldn’t do any work because the old cupboards were there.

“Now they’ve told me I have to find an estimate for £14,000 but I have consulted builders and they want £24,000 to do the work.

“I can’t sleep at night as it bothers me so much.”

Lloyds issued a holding statement saying: “We have been working with Mrs Graham for some time to try to resolve her situation in the best way that we can.”

Do you have the skills to help Francesse out? If you are a builder, kitchen fitter, plumber or electrician and can offer some work free or for a reasonable estimate, call the Comet and ask for Martin on 01438 866209.

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