NEIGHBOURS and strangers have rallied round to help an isolated 78-year-old man who has been living completely alone in a "bare" house for years.

The "unbelievable" Charles 'Jim' Hagerty had dedicated his life to caring for his elderly mother at home, spending the last five years of her life sleeping on the armchair at her bedside.

But when she passed away at 100 years of age, Jim suddenly had no-one to look after him in his old age and was too frail to upgrade the house.

The kitchen has no kettle, toaster or microwave while the only bed he owns is broken.

His carpets are ripped and have caused him to trip once already.

His kind-hearted neighbour, Mehmooda Shaikh, walked out one day to find Jim confused and packing his bags. She called an ambulance to help him out and, as she calmed him down inside, she saw with her own eyes how Jim had been living.

It was that moment she vowed to change his life and enlisted the help of Bradford4Better to get everyone else in the community involved.

Mehmooda, who moved to Wightman Street in 1973, told the Telegraph & Argus: "He has lived on the street for 53 years. I've got a lot of respect for him.

"He's an amazing person.

"I think the lockdown has really got to him. He's not seen anyone. I'm trying my best to look after him.

"When I went into his house, as I've not been inside for such a long time, when I saw that I was really heartbroken and I took his hand and said 'Would you like me to help you?'.

"I put a message on Facebook.

"He's really happy. I'm just ringing the doctors, ringing the nurses and ringing the hospital, taking him for shopping, trying to do anything he needs. I don't want anybody to think I'm taking advantage of him. I want the social services to help him.

"I've known him such a long time. I can't turn my back and walk away."

Mehmooda hopes more people will say the three important words to their neighbours: 'Are you ok?'.

"We're his family now," she said.

"It's one of the most amazing streets. They've got lots of English neighbours, Asian neighbours, Bengalis. We look after each other. We do the street cleaning together. We don't have a big family so on Eid we do a one dish party. We ask all our English neighbours to come. We do Christmas. People are always there.

""In these hard times I would say to everybody, please look out for your neighbours, people you've never spoken to, to just ask them 'Are you ok?'. Sometimes all they need is 'Are you ok? I'm here for you if you need me'."

The money will see his home completely transformed but it has to be done slowly and safely to protect Charles amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Inayah Sher of B4B said: "With his permission and consent we asked him if he would be happy for B4B  to organise a minor but effective makeover to his house . His eyes lit up with delight, he supported a beautiful smile and gave us the go ahead with happiness.

 "We initiated a fund page and amazingly, within 24 hours, we received over £2000 of donations. it has been an incredible experience, people have been so generous, And, his fantastic neighbours alone donated up to £530 with one individual providing £300.

 "We have received donations from all; even young people have donated their pocket money, I received texts from mother’s and children wanting to give their Eid money to support Charles’s plight, we received donations all the way from Manchester from good friends family , but most of all our generous and giving natured people of Bradford.

"We have also received donations in kind such beds, and other household goods including bathroom pieces.

"Hayaat Karim, a B4B member, has offered to pay for all the carpets.

"We  do still need people who will can support this altruistic cause to come forward and help us with the décor and the renovation and support poor Charles to spend the rest of his life in a warm and comforting home.  

 "Massive thank you to every individual who has donated and shown their unbending support for Charles."

You can visit the GoFundMe page, Compassionate Charles, here.