A fundraiser has been set up for a man who lost “just about everything” after the garage he was living in burnt down.
Richard Salter, 59, was in work when the garage, on North Road, Newbridge, caught fire in the early hours of Wednesday, July 15.
Key worker Mr Salter, who works night shifts as a lorry driver delivering to supermarkets, had lived in the garage for about four years.
“I’ve lost just about everything I owned”, Mr Salter told Caerphilly Observer.
“I had Land Rovers in there, a small trailer I used to move stuff around with, I had a few generators in there, fuel for the generators and a lot of tools that I’ve been collecting over the years – I’m almost a tool junkie if you like, I can’t pass the tool shop without buying something.”
One of Mr Salter’s biggest hobbies is repairing cars. He said: “It’s something to do and it’s a hobby, I was actually trying to rebuild a Range Rover from 1972.”
When he found out about the fire, Mr Salter said his “heart felt like it was in my boots”.
“I went there to see if there was an exaggeration on how bad it was and what I could salvage – but by the time I got there, there was nothing left.
“To have quite a bit of stuff, and then to find out when you’re in work that you’ve now got nothing, it could put lesser people into a serious depression, but I’ve always been more of an up person than a down person.”
Mr Salter is currently spending time with his daughter in Caerphilly following the blaze.
He described the support he’s received from his family as “wonderful”. He said: “Especially since the majority of the family are step children as opposed to mine, I think it’s been wonderful from them – I proved obviously I was doing a good job raising them.”
Despite the trauma of losing everything he owned in the fire, Mr Salter, who turns 60 on Sunday (July 26), has carried on working.
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Daughter Nicola Stewart, who set up the fundraiser with the aim of raising £3,000 to help her father get back on his feet, said: “He’s lost all his memories, electrical items in which he loved after work to repair cars in his spare time and days off.
“He has never had a day off work – always paid for his own items, and throughout this pandemic he was told not to work due to chest problems, but didn’t want to let the community down.
“We would be very grateful for any help to rebuild his life.”
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