Southam woman ‘overwhelmed’ by community’s response after cowboy traders con her out of thousands

Volunteer tradesmen and workers helping to repair the drive on Saturday July 23 after cowboy traders left Emily Mackie's drive in a mess
Volunteer tradesmen and workers helping to repair the drive on Saturday July 23 after cowboy traders left Emily Mackie's drive in a mess

An elderly woman conned out of thousands by cowboy traders was left ‘overwhelmed’ after her community rallied together to repair her unfinished driveway.

Emily Mackie, 78, of Welsh Road West, Southam, was visited by a driveway company in June who offered to fix and re-lay her and her husband Andrew’s patio driveway, as there were some broken slabs which were a trip hazard.

They quoted her £1,150 for the work, which was accepted and paid up front. They set to work on Saturday June 10, but then said they needed more materials and upped the price to £2,400, which again was accepted and paid.

After they took her money for a second time, the workers did very little, only lifting half of the slabs on the drive and sprinkling a bit of sand underneath them. Although they said they would finish the job on the following Monday, no-one from the company was seen since.

Following the incident, Emily’s daughter Marie Mackie warned others about the company on the Facebook page ‘Southam News and Views’. This prompted Linden McDonald of Southam driveway cleaning company Outside Cleaning Direct to offer to clean Emily’s drive for free.

He then went one step further, and organised a ‘DIY SOS’ style gathering of tradesmen and volunteers on Saturday July 22 to completely re-do the Mackies’ drive.

The project was given a huge boost thanks to an anonymous donation of materials, and plenty of workers gave up their time on the Saturday from 9am to completely repair the drive.

All the workers were helped by residents who kept the workers fed and watered during the work, and by 5.30pm, the drive was finished. And Marie, Emily and Andrew were very pleased with the outcome.

Marie said: “They did an amazing job and all worked so hard. It was a really good response.

“They’re not getting anything from it in terms of money, but they did it as a way of helping the community.

The driveway close to completion

The driveway close to completion

“My mum was quite overwhelmed. She just can’t believe the kindness that is still in people. After the experience she’s had it’s restored a bit of her faith in humanity.”

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The Mackies wished to thank Linden McDonald of Outside Cleaning Direct, Priory Tools, Mark and Dale Crowther and Dan Udall of ‘Start 2 Finish’, Phil Lee of The Cuttle, Long Itchington, Matt Goodwin of Goodwin & Sons, and local resident Donna White for all their help.

They also thanked Chris Warner, Stuart Hayward Daniels, Seymour Smith of Harbury RFC, Jack Tompkins of Tompkins Construction, Danny Farrell of Southam RFC, Ted Mazurek, Russ King, and Simon Patterson.