A pensioner forced out of her mouldy rat-infested home has said she is "so grateful" after more than 150 local people helped transform it.
Pat, 70, had become chronically ill from living in her damp-covered home in Swindon, Wiltshire, and moved out just before Christmas.
A total of 154 locals, along with the help of almost 80 businesses, came together to clean up and refurbish her home for free, even though the work carried out would have cost £120,000.
After moving back in, Pat, who is registered blind and suffers from early onset heart failure, said: "It's absolutely amazing what they've done for me.
"I'd like to thank them all from the bottom of my heart and I am so, so grateful to them all."
Pat was told she needed to leave the house by her friend, chef Janet Reynolds, 44, who had been helping with her weekly shops, but had not been inside the house since the COVID pandemic.
When Pat asked her for help cleaning the bungalow, Reynolds said she was "horrified" when she looked inside.
“The house was covered in thick, black mould - it was horrendous. I could barely be in there myself," she said.
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“I’ve known her for 20 years - we used to work together. She thinks of me like a daughter. But after COVID happened, she stopped letting me into the house.
“I thought it was odd then she asked me for help cleaning. As soon as I stepped in, I knew she needed to get out.
"Everything was covered, and she was on antibiotics for double pneumonia.”
The house had become infested with rats and mould covered most surfaces, while Pat had been living without central heating or hot water.
She moved in with Reynolds and a GoFundMe page was set up to pay for local tradespeople to refurbish the house.
Reynolds said Pat felt "a little embarrassed" but is overwhelmed by the community's response.
“She’s a very proud lady. I told her, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
“She started crying - she can’t believe how generous everyone’s been. The situation was really desperate.”
The bungalow, which previously had electricity in just two rooms, now has a new boiler and furniture, the rats have been pest controlled, the rotten flooring taken up and the damp dehumidified.
Pat said she is now looking forward to inviting her friends to her transformed home for a cup of tea.
"They can call in and see me on their way home from work, which is wonderful," she said. "Make my life normal again."