Plumber’s Invoice To Leukaemia Sufferer In End Of Life Care Totals £0

by : Julia Banim on : 16 Sep 2019 18:26
Hero Plumber Elderly WomanJames Anderson/Facebook

A kind-hearted plumber from Burnley has warmed hearts as well as homes after fixing an elderly leukaemia sufferer’s boiler completely free of charge.

When caring James Anderson arrived at the home of the 91-year-old lady – who is on end of life support – he knew he did not want to bill her for the boiler repair.


Showing inspiring generosity, Anderson kept quiet about his plans, before sending the lady’s daughter an invoice for exactly £0. Had he billed her the full amount, it would have cost roughly around £480.

Plumber Invoice Leukaemia sufferer @PDevonian/Twitter

Speaking with UNILAD, Anderson recalled how he first met the terminally ill woman, on September 8:

This lady’s daughter rang us and said, ‘my mum’s boiler’s not working, can you send someone over to have a look at it?’

It was a Sunday, I didn’t want to ring anybody else so I went out myself. I popped into the house, and the daughter was there with the mother and the mother was on the couch, on a make-shift chair bed in the living room.

Now you could see that she was very poorly anyway, but I didn’t know what was wrong with her at that time. I had a look at the boiler, rectified the problem but then the pressure started dropping again. So then I realised it was the expansion that’s along the boiler that was faulty.


For the next two days, Anderson visited the house twice a day to depressurise the boiler to keep it working while waiting for the new part to arrive. Anderson fitted the new part on September 12.

Anderson told UNILAD:

All through the process, I never, ever said to the woman’s daughter it’s going to be free, because the situation in the property – the daughter explained to me – the mother’s got leukaemia, she’s basically on the end of life care.

I didn’t want to put anymore stress on the situation, so I didn’t say anything, just did the invoice and sent it by email to her.

So when she got home, in her own house, she would see it and if there’s any upset then it’s not in front of her mother. She was totally amazed with it. She was over the moon with it.


The daughter was not the only one to be left amazed. The invoice was uploaded and shared online, and people were astonished by Incredibly, this good deed is not unusual for Anderson, and is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his community mindedness.

In 2017, Anderson established Depher CIC, a non-profit organisation which carries out plumbing work free of charge for elderly and disabled customers.


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Anderson was initially inspired to kickstart this service after another – decidedly less ethical – plumbing company took advantage of an elderly gentleman, charging him for work he didn’t need.

At the time of writing, Anderson and the Depher CIC team have helped out 2,389 families through this initiative; helping out with everything from gas leaks to possible gas explosions, carbon monoxide leaks to faulty boilers.


They’ve even paid bailiff bills for those who’ve had bailiffs at their door, and given free gas top ups for those without electricity or gas.

As for the elderly leukaemia patient, Anderson told UNILAD Depher will now care for her plumbing needs ‘for life’:

She is now under our care, on the trading side, until the day she doesn’t need us anymore. So for life. I hope she’s here for another 50 years, but she is now in our care. She is now part of our family. She’s part of the Depher family forever.


In a world where the elderly and disabled all too often struggle to pay their bills, Anderson and the rest of the Depher CIC team are truly heroic.

With winter on its way, their presence will be of even greater comfort to many families and they deserve all the support and praise in the world.

Find out how you can support Depher here

If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Life


  1. @PDevonian/Twitter