Terminally ill man forced to give up home after being unable to cope with his bills

Harry Tweddle with his grandson. Picture: Lynn Tweddle
Harry Tweddle with his grandson. Picture: Lynn Tweddle

A terminally ill man and his wife have been forced to move out of their beloved home as they cannot cope with rising costs amid the cost of living crisis.

Harry and Lynn Tweddle, of Northallerton, have had to give up their three-bed home on the outskirts of the town after bills and rent became simply unmanageable.

It comes as businesses right across the North East and North Yorkshire have announced their closure in recent weeks as they have been left unable to pay their bills.

Mr Tweddle, who is unable to work due to intensive chemotherapy for his terminal cancer, requires round-the-clock care.

Harry Tweddle was forced to move whilst undergoing chemotherapy. Picture: Lynn Tweddle

As a result, Mrs Tweddle acts as his full-time carer, meaning their monthly household income is a mere £700, which comes from universal credit payments.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, Lynn Tweddle explained how they had been ground down by rising energy bills and the need to downsize.

Mrs Tweddle said: "We were paying £650 a month in rent, on top of council tax and electricity bills that were starting to climb.

"We knew that bills were only going to get more expensive, and have been proved correct, as the rent for our old house went up by £100 after we moved out."

The couple has since moved into a two-bedroom council-owned bungalow in Northallerton, meaning they have less space and had to go through the stress of moving house whilst Harry was unwell.

Lynn Tweddle has become her husband's carer. Picture: Lynn Tweddle

Mrs Tweddle said: "Originally, we were only supposed to get a one-bedroom property through the council, but as Harry is so unwell, it is impossible to sleep next to him some nights."

"You can't even touch him because he's in so much pain. There's a tumour in his neck that presses against the nerves in his shoulder, which is excruciating."

"But my mum has recently had to move in with us because she is unwell, and can't afford to rent in Northallerton, so I am in with Harry every night and we are back to square one."

Read more: Northallerton woman hits out after £90 fine in Lidl car park

But even after securing the right kind of property for the couple's needs, their move was far from smooth.

Administrative errors at electricity and gas companies meant that the couple were greeted by astronomical and unaffordable bills during their first month at the property.

Mrs Tweddle: "I have had to fight for so many things - Scottish Power was charging us too much, and no matter how much I tried to sort it out they said it was correct and that I owed them £800.

"My consumption was very low, yet my bills were horrendous."

I am feeling very, very down at the moment, I am just sick of having to fight for everything."

Read more: Man dies after falling overboard from ship off Blackhall near Hartlepool

Mrs Tweddle, who was previously a civil servant, working in the Department of Farming and Rural Affairs, urged people not to judge those forced to rely on benefits.

She said: "I wish people understood how hard it is.

"When you are on benefits, people think that you are lazy and sponging off of the system, but they don't understand our situation."

Your Money Matters

"Friends don't judge, but social media really does, and people can be so mean when you feel anonymous."

"It's so easy to be nasty on the end of a phone - people can be so quick to say the first thing that pops into their head."

Your Money Matters

Your Money Matters is a campaign launched by us and our sister titles across Newsquest to help you overcome the surge in the cost of living. This year has seen a whole host of household price increases — from the energy price cap rise to surging inflation and food prices — costing your family hundreds or even thousands of pounds extra per year. We’re making it our mission to look out for your cash, offering money-saving deals, competitions, giveaways and insightful stories from your community on the impact this cost-of-living crisis is having on our readers. The worldwide energy crisis exacerbated by the Ukraine invasion, the financial impact of the Covid pandemic, record inflation figures and a surge in the cost of goods, fuel and travel means we will all feel the pinch. Through our newspaper, we want to do what we can to help make your cash go further because we know your money matters.

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