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Friends rally round to help couple in home hell

Geoff and Margaret Shipp Photo: ITV News Anglia

A campaign has started in Suffolk to help a terminally-ill man and his wife renovate their house in Tunstall after they were left living on a building site.

Geoff Shipp has motor neurone disease and he and his wife Margaret have lost thousands of pounds trying to renovate their barn after their builder left the site.

Now a family friend is trying to get local traders to donate their time to try to give the couple a few final months together in the property they once dreamt of.

Margaret caring for Geoff Credit: ITV News Anglia

Margaret and Geoff Shipp are facing the toughest months of their 56 years together.

In 2012 they bought a barn to renovate into a home to enjoy their retirement. It should have been completed last March. Instead they've spent the last year living in a building site.

And to make things worse, just a few months after buying the property, Geoff was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. He's now in acute respiratory failure.

The house in Tunstall Credit: ITV News Anglia

I don't think it could be any harder. We've had no hot water, no heating. We've got little stoves scattered around. Nothing's been done properly. It's all temporary. Nothing's fitted. Windows don't open. We've got a piece of floorboard up in the window of the utility room backdoor and a food bag to keep the storms out.

– Margaret Shipp

The problem is the couple have sunk their life savings into the renovation, but £78,000 later, the project has ground to a halt and the builder's left the site. They're living with a huge list of problems and little hope they'll get their money back or their problems fixed.

"I'm just so full of remorse," Margaret tells me. "Hindsight's a wonderful thing. It's virtually unliveable in."

Their situation is so bleak their friend Lorraine Cooper has started a campaign to raise money to help the couple and to try and get local tradesman to donate their time to give Geoffrey and Margaret a few final months of happiness together. To find out more click here

Looking at the plans Credit: ITV News Anglia

"It would be lovely if people who have skills, ie plumbing, electrics, if somebody could come along and do a few days here or even a few hours. I mean anything. You can see the state we're in. I'd like someone to actually come in and actually project manage and say "don't worry about it Margaret and Geoff, I'm going to sort this for you. You go and do what you need to do for the last few months of your lives together."

Margaret and Geoff know they have very little time left together. They know they are totally reliant on the kindness of others to get them out of this situation.

It will mean getting our life back. We haven't had a life for over a year. We've just existed. And the tears that we've shed are just unbelievable. We want to have this summer where we can sit in our lovely finished home together and just sit and relax.

– Margaret Shipp

A simple hope for a few untroubled months together.

Watch Tanya Mercer's report below...