Lucy Ashen has lived in Fulham, England, all her life and loves her neighborhood. But one day, a longtime neighbor shocked Lucy to her core, leaving her speechless.
Lucy has a 76-year-old neighbor whom she calls “My Lady.” She lives on her own in a one-bedroom flat. My Lady fondly calls Lucy “Lucy Locket.”
The two have seen each other briefly, waving from doorways. But My Lady has struggled with mental health issues for years.
One day, when Lucy discovered what was going on behind My Lady’s closed door, she had to intervene. She just couldn’t leave it alone.
Lucy had an inkling that her elderly neighbor was having a hard time functioning on her own, but had no idea just how bad the situation had gotten. Finally, My Lady let Lucy behind the closed door to her flat…
My Lady had accidentally locked herself out of her flat and she asked Lucy for help. When Lucy climbed through an open window, she couldn’t believe what was inside the home.
There, Lucy discovered that My Lady had not bathed for 13 years because of mobility issues. Her flat was filled with “indescribable filth and squalor” because she couldn’t clean or maintain it.
“There was no food, filthy clothes, nobody to help her bathe and just never-ending loneliness and despair. What I saw when she finally let me in will stay with me forever! It was horrific! NOBODY should live like that!”
So Lucy took it upon herself to rescue her neighbor from her horrendous living conditions. With her permission, Lucy dug in and began sorting, tossing, disinfecting and cleaning.
This kindhearted woman had her teenage daughter keep My Lady occupied while she spent several days working on the home. Lucy also posted on Facebook pleading for help.
My Lady needed new clothes, furniture and household supplies. Virtually nothing could be kept from the home.
To Lucy’s surprise, within just 24 hours, 80 percent of the items My Lady needed had been offered by complete strangers from around the world. She also received countless messages of support for what she was doing for her neighbor. Companies, charities, mental health professionals, tradesmen and others all pitched in to help.
“…with the kindness and generosity of the people who donated items, I have been able to turn her house into a home. She has everything she could need, a bed to sleep in (she was sleeping on the floor) good clean furniture, fresh new bedding, beautiful new clothes, three meals a day, and most importantly, company. She truly has been saved from a lonely and degrading life, she has been given her dignity back and I intend for her to live out the rest of her life in comfort and surrounded by love.”
Because of people’s interest in My Lady and the progress Lucy had made in helping restore not just her home, but her life, Lucy created a Facebook page to keep everyone abreast about their journey. Strangers have offered Lucy valid advice and motivational comments.
Lucy said the change in her neighbor has been astounding, too. Finally having a bath, clean clothes and warm meals has brought out a glow in her, a gleam in her eyes. Lucy’s teen daughter also offers to brush My Lady’s hair.
She’s been without a television for four years because it had been set to a foreign language and she couldn’t fix it. That was her only source of company and it had been mute for years.
My Lady has loved chatting with the strangers who have filtered in and out of her flat to help, as well as the conversations she’s had with Lucy while she cleans the home.
“We have laughed, sung and danced around the front room! She had her first car ride in years. The sun was out, the windows were down, the music was blaring and she was singing along! She loved it!”
The overwhelming support and the sheer demand of this project resorted Lucy to tears one night. She said that while the flat is not a palace, but it’s no longer a place ill-fitting for a human being to live. Even though My Lady struggles to remember Lucy’s name most of the time, she knows Lucy is there to help her and support her.