A woman has been found living in a hedge for years – all because she couldn’t face being separated from her beloved cat and “soulmate”.
The discovery was made by a tree surgeon who came across the rough sleeper when he was clearing a field.
Gareth Olsen immediately leapt into action and put the woman in touch with a homeless charity.
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The tree surgeon and his team were clearing a field in Chester when they made the startling discovery, reports Cheshire Live.
The woman’s “home” consisted of a tarpaulin, a few umbrellas, an old sleeping bag, and blankets and cushions.
She told him she couldn’t bear to be parted from her cat, but none of the accommodation she’d previously been offered would take the two of them.
Gareth said: "It's such a sad story. I felt so shocked and sorry for her. I was clearing a piece of land for a private landlord and it hadn't been touched for years. One of our guys was in a tractor and a little hand appeared out of the hedge waving and saying 'I live here'.
"Bless her. When I first met her I said I hope you don't mind me asking but how long have you been here, and she said a couple of years – probably two or three.
“I asked her if she had had any accommodation and she said she had done over the years but she has had a cat for a few years who she described as her 'soulmate', and lots of places wouldn't take her cat. I asked her how she was managing and she said she was quite a hardy person and all she really needed was a sleeping bag as hers had seen better days. She was clearly not doing well.
“She was awfully nervous, too, thinking we were going to kick her off the site. I said no, I'd like to try to help her. I wasn't leaving her there. I couldn't sleep that night, wanting to make sure she was OK. She was insistent at first that she would just move on and make sure the site was tidied before she did so.”
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Gareth called his pal Adam Dandy, from homelessness charity Share charity, who quickly sprung into action.
Adam said Share’s outreach team had contacted the woman and she was now receiving help and being found housing.
Gareth said: “I'm 43 and a tree surgeon and I consider myself quite hardy but I could not do what she has been doing. She had a tarpaulin, some umbrellas and cushions and her worldly possessions in bags and boxes.
“It was pretty shocking. It's literally a place to exist. She was clearly keeping herself out of the way.
“I'm glad that it all came good in the end and she is now getting support.”
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