A 72-year-old woman battling breast cancer may be evicted from her home as she cannot afford the mortgage.
Deborah Wales lives alongside hundreds of rescue animals at her cottage and farm in Backford, Cheshire.
She now faces the terrifying prospect of being booted out by bailiffs after her building society demanded she pay off the full amount left on her mortgage.
The pensioner says she is unable to cover the sum as she is currently living ‘hand to mouth’ on her pension and has no savings, Cheshire Live reports.
The animal lover, who moved into the home in 1972, needs to raise £90,000 to pay mortgage collectors so she can continue to live out her life in the building.
Deborah, who has been receiving cancer treatment, says she feels like ‘every day is a struggle’.
“I feel like I’m on the edge of the abyss, staring down into nothing,” she told CheshireLive.
“Every day is struggle, I’m living hand to mouth. No one knows I am here, no one even cares I am here.”
In 2008, Deborah’s life took a turn for the worse when her partner of 10 years left her suddenly.
She found herself alone and with an interest-only mortgage to maintain.
An interest-only mortgage is a loan in which the borrower pays only the interest for some or all of the term, with the principle balance unchanged.
At the end of the interest-only term the borrower must renegotiate another mortgage or pay the remaining sum.
Deborah says her former partner had agreed with the building society that he would pay the mortgage upon retiring, but then he left.
She says she struggled through and just managed to pay the interest off each month but now the building society are wanting the full amount to be repaid.
“I just can’t afford it, so after 50 years I now find myself being evicted,” she added.
“All my savings are gone and I only have my pension.
“At 72 I am facing not just losing my home, but all the animals that rely on me.”
Over the 50 years Deborah has lived in the cottage, which is near the Hospice Of The Good Shepherd, she has turned it into a sanctuary for animals and the natural world.
Many residents have visited Deborah, a widow, over time with injured animals she can eventually nurse back to health and let back into the wild.
She said: “I’m a great believer in the power of nature to help relieve stress and keep the body young and healthy.
“Nature has never brought me worldly wealth but has kept me young, happy and well in body, mind and soul.
“I’m a real optimist and I try whenever I can to spread the word that nature and the natural world has the power to enhance everyone’s life.”
At the cottage and farm there are two dogs, 60 doves and pigeons, rabbits and sheep.
Deborah says she has three options left; raise half the mortgage amount to qualify for equity release (£90,000), help from someone or the public, or starting up a business which will allow her to apply for a mortgage.
“My options are pretty limited,” she said.
“I’m just desperately trying to get help.”
Deborah says a judge has informed her that she needs to raise £2,550 by April 20, 2020 which will give her another three months to live at the cottage before the full mortgage amount is due.
She said: “I live from day to day with the constant stress of eviction hanging over me and I think this was the major factor in having an operation and subsequent treatment for breast cancer this autumn.
“I’ve worked so hard these last years to keep our little home going and I just couldn’t bear to lose all of this because of money.”