A POWYS man with a heart of gold has raised over £1,000 to help a friend struggling to keep hold of his two pet dogs after he was struck down by a brain injury.
Richard Franklin, from Pant-y-dwr, near Rhayader, only met Kelvin Maggs, from North Wales, a few years ago through their shared interest in man’s best friend. Richard bought some puppies from Kelvin and the two have since struck up a firm friendship.
They may have only known each other a short time but it is Richard that Kelvin has been able to truly count on after suffering a nightmarish 2021 – a year in which he lost his job and then suffered a bleed on the brain.
Former serviceman Kelvin says he always paid his taxes and national insurance and never claimed benefits, but found that the government abandoned him in his time of need. He applications for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Universal Credit were declined because authorities deemed that his military pension of £704 a month was sufficient for him to survive on – despite owning a mortgage of £400 per month.
The real tragedy was that, due to his situation, Kelvin feared he might have to give up his two beloved border terriers, Millie and Odie.
But in stepped Richard, who set up a gofundme page. It went viral on social media and has so far raised £1,160, with 68 separate people contributing.
“When it went on Facebook it went absolutely nuts,” Richard admitted.
“I first got in touch with Kelvin because we bought some puppies off him. We then met up and went for walks with the dogs and have become friends over the last three years.
“One dog rescue up in Scotland had been in touch with Kelvin and said that if worse comes to worse they’d take the dogs in. They’ve also sent food parcels down to him.
“Kelvin has now been made a beneficiary so can draw on the funds as and when he requires; thanks to everyone who he has donated.”
Things are already looking up for Kelvin, who since the campaign was set up by Richard, has been contacted by the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA), also known as the Armed Forces charity, and is even waiting to hear back about a job offer.
Posting on the fundraising page at the end of January, Kelvin, from Penycae, near Wrexham, said: “I haven’t been on for a while but you may remember me posting about rehoming my two furs Millie and Odie.
“I was blown away by all your messages and support and donations made, it was truly overwhelming I had a little cry. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart and from Millie and Odie too.
“Following your advice I now have SSAFA on board who came up with food for both me and the dogs and are trying to help financially.
“I had a job interview as a production worker, minimum wage but beggars can’t be choosers. Woody’s Lodge are also helping me answer the PIP decision and have also supplied me with food for the dogs. So at least for now they will be staying with me.
“Thank you so much and God bless you all in this amazing group.”
It’s a far cry from when Richard initially set up the group, where Kevin described himself as being left “heartbroken” at the thought of having to rehome Millie and Odie.
“I lost my job back in May this year after suffering a bleed on the brain,” said Kelvin.
“I’ve been putting it off since but it appears I have no choice but to rehome my two babies.”
Thankfully, things are looking up for Kelvin, thanks to the perseverance and loyalty of man’s new best friend.
You can still donate to Kelvin’s cause and find out more information by visiting the gofundme page set up by Richard, at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-kelvin-through-this-difficult-time.