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A chance encounter

A woman whose arthritis got so bad she resorted to living in her bedroom has told how a chance encounter with a stranger resulted in her being given her dream home on a new £640,000 DAMHA development.
Kath Cain had just about given hope of finding a home that would be better suited to her needs, having struggled to maintain her three-bedroom family home in Gateshead.
Crippling arthritis meant she found it difficult using the stairs in that home, so she had resorted to spending most of her days and nights in her bedroom.
Wanting to move closer to her daughter Tania, she began looking for homes in the Consett area but struggled to find anyone who was building bungalows.
Then, whilst visiting a new build development, a man asked her if she needed any help and when she explained what she was looking for, he told about a five-bungalow scheme being built by Durham Aged Mineworkers’ Homes Association (DAMHA) in nearby Delves Lane, Consett.
After looking at the homes under construction, she then went to DAMHA’s head office in Chester-le-Street to apply for one of the homes.
Kath said: “With only five homes available I never thought for a second I would be lucky enough to get one of the homes so after filling out the forms I put it to the back of my mind.
“Then, a few months later I received a call to say I was going to be given a home, and that this was mainly down to my personal circumstances.
“My arthritis can be really painful so I had practically resorted to living in the bedroom of my own home to avoid having to go up and down the stairs too many times.
“My new home is so nice and as everything is one level, it just makes everything to much easier.
“Meeting that man was a stroke of luck but it has changed my life for the better.”
Paul Mullis, Chief Executive of DAMHA, said: “There is a real shortage of new build bungalows across County Durham, so we are delighted to have been able to build five new homes in Delves Lane.
“We are glad to have been able to help Kath and that she is settling in so well.”
The homes were built on the site of the old miners’ hall, and subsequently a recording studio, at Percy Terrace. The scheme has been named after David Guy, former President of the Durham Miners.
The two-bedroom bungalows include a bath and walk-in shower, as well as solar panels which help to heat the water.