A FUNDRAISING campaign has been launched to help support a pensioner who has used up his life savings in a legal dispute over bins.

Cliff Kitching, from Nunthorpe, near Middlesbrough, accesses his front garden with his wheelie bins through a Victorian courtyard which is owned by Middlesbrough council.

However, the authority aims to sell the land to a housing developer – shutting off access to the courtyard.

And the 85-year-old has been locked in the legal dispute as he fights to maintain his access rights.

In August, Mr Kitching collapsed at tribunal hearing in Leeds where he was contesting the council's stance on access.

With legal bills being in excess of £9,500, a local councillor has launched a Go Fund Me page to help raise enough cash to cover the bill.

Jon Rathmell, who represents Nunthorpe as an independent councillor on Middlesbrough Council, said: “Cliff was forced into a legal dispute by Middlesbrough Council over his access rights. It was a necessity for Cliff to do this because at 85-years-old it means he won’t be forced to leave the home his family have occupied since 1870.

“The cost to Cliff has been his health, he’s had more 30 blood transfusions in the last couple of months and it has cost him £9,500 which is his entire life savings.

“There’s been a lot of generous donations so far but we still need to reach the target to cover his legal costs.”

Mr Kitching, a father-of-two, said it would be impossible for him to pull the wheelie bins 200 yards along a detour path scattered with trees, fences and washing lines, and so he will be forced to move.

Last month Mr Kitching said: "Since this case started I have been in hospital several times. I have had 30 blood transfusions in the last four months."

The pensioner said he was "right as rain" and "enjoying life" until he heard about the council's plans around two years ago.

The retired joiner, who lost his wife Eleanor four-and-a-half years ago, is the third generation of his family to have lived in the village.

He added: "The result of the tribunal hearing is expected to be announced in the next few weeks.

"My family are very supportive but they are limited as to what they can do. The council don't see my point of view at all, they said they will fight it to the end.”

  • Anybody wanting to support the fundraising campaign can visit www.gofundme.com/cliffs-life-savings to make a donation.
  • Middlesbrough Council said it would make a comment on the situation following the outcome of the tribunal hearing.