Pur­r­fect end­ing to cruel con­man tale

Vale gran’s joy as big-hearted lo­cals step in to fix her gar­den

Lennox Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Jenny Foulds

A Vale gran is beam­ing af­ter big-hearted res­i­dents ral­lied round her to fix her gar­den which was de­stroyed by a greedy con­man.

Pat Whit­taker, from Tul­lichewan, has been left over­whelmed by the gen­eros­ity of land­scap­ing firms across the area who scram­bled to con­tact her af­ter the Len­nox Her­ald re­vealed her plight.

Last week we told how the 70-year-old dis­abled gran was fleeced out of £600 and left al­most house­bound af­ter be­ing tar­geted by a bo­gus work­man.

He promised he would fix her gar­den be­fore dig­ging it up and dis­ap­pear­ing with­out a trace.

The crim­i­nal even drove her to a cash ma­chine so he could pocket the cash, which she told him she had saved for a holiday.

Out­raged land­scap­ers across the area con­tacted the Len­nox Her­ald last week to of­fer their ser­vices to Pat free of charge.

And on Mon­day Alan Arthur and his team from Great E Scapes worked their magic, spend­ing the morn­ing trans­form­ing the land from a muddy mess into a gar­den she is now proud of.

Pat said: “I’m de­lighted. If I could run and skip I would.

“It looks ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic and I can’t thank Alan and the boys enough for do­ing it. They worked non-stop and com­pleted it within the morn­ing.

“The re­ac­tion from ev­ery­one has been un­be­liev­able and I want to give a huge thank you to Great E Scapes and all the lovely peo­ple across the Vale who have stopped me to say they are sorry for what has hap­pened. Ev­ery­one has been won­der­ful.”

Even Pat’s cat Toby gave the new gar­den his seal of ap­proval, pos­ing on the steps for our pho­tog­ra­pher on Mon­day.

Ex­plain­ing how the kind­hearted of­fer came about, Pat said: “Alan got in touch and of­fered to do it all for me for free. He read the story in the Len­nox Her­ald and got in touch with my daugh­ter that night.

“An­other cou­ple of firms also got in touch. It’s ab­so­lutely won­der­ful.”

Re­mem­ber­ing the con­man, she said: “It makes you re­alise that the world is not full of peo­ple like that. “There’s far more of us than there are of them.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to go­ing to the gar­den cen­tre and get­ting some lovely pot­ted plants for my new gar­den.”

Alan Arthur, who owns Tul­lichewan-based Great E Scapes, said he did not think twice about con­tact­ing Pat when he read the story in the Len­nox Her­ald.

He said: “I did Pat’s gar­den about seven or eight years ago and when I read the pa­per I recog­nised her straight away.

“The fact they have left the gar­den in the state they did, leav­ing a dis­abled woman with no ac­cess, is de­spi­ca­ble.

“I told her we would do the labour for free and Jew­son in Dum­bar­ton of­fered to pro­vide the ma­te­ri­als for free.

“She’s al­ready lost a lot of money so there was no way we were tak­ing any more from her.”

He added: “It’s sad be­cause peo­ple hear about these kind of sto­ries and it au­to­mat­i­cally gives land­scap­ers a bad name.

“I see it hap­pen time and time again, ter­ri­ble peo­ple tak­ing ad­van­tage of those who are vul­ner­a­ble and el­derly.

“They shouldn’t be tak­ing a penny un­til the job is com­pletely fin­ished.”

Gerry Kelly Land­scap­ing and Build­ing Works in Dum­bar­ton also got in touch with Pat to of­fer their ser­vices af­ter owner Gerry read the ar­ti­cle.

He said: “It’s ter­ri­ble what’s hap­pened to her and I don’t know how these peo­ple can sleep at night.

“It’s ridicu­lous how any­body can do that to some­body. The ter­ri­fy­ing thing is that it could have hap­pened to any­body.

“We are glad there will hope­fully be a happy end­ing.”

And char­ity West Dun­bar­ton­shire En­vi­ron­ment Trust also of­fered to step in to see if they could help.

Man­ager Alan McMullen phoned the Len­nox Her­ald last week, say­ing: “We help re­gen­er­ate dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties and work with groups but we were sad­dened by the story and wanted to see if we could help in any way.”

Hard work­ers Alan and his team (right with Pat) trans­formed the gar­den. Now that it looks great, Pat and her cat Toby can en­joy it again (be­low) Ideal fur me Pat’s cat Toby checks out the new stairs in the re­vamped gar­den

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