Pride of Plumbing: Dan Ford’s story

Over the past six months we’ve been encouraging the nation to share the best, most inspiring, stories the installer industry has to offer as part of our Pride of Plumbing campaign. The response has been phenomenal, and following on from the heart-warming work of Greg Roe, we’re now delighted to celebrate our second story. 

Dan Ford, co-owner of Balford Plumbing & Heating in Evesham, was put forward for Pride of Plumbing 2021 by his wife Lyndsey for his Hearts for Hope project. After he refused to simply down tools when placed on furlough, Dan began to repurpose the copper piping which he was unable to use on site, using his skills to spread a message of love and compassion at the time when it was needed the most. In doing this, he also managed to raise thousands of pounds for local good causes.

As Lyndsey explains: “When Dan was furloughed in March 2020, he started to make simple hearts from copper pipe. He then began selling them, with 100% of the proceeds going to local charities, and raised over £10,000! He donated money to some fantastic organisations like Worcester Acute Hospital, St Richard’s Hospice, and West Midlands Air Ambulance, just to name a few.”

“People are really grateful that we’re doing this and supporting charities. A lot of people buy the hearts as memorials for lost loved ones, and it means a lot to be able to provide something so special. Everybody is amazed that these pipes that people use to heat their homes, can be turned into such beautiful things.”

We caught up with Dan to hear more about his background, and the story of Hearts for Hope.

“We started making the copper hearts right at the start of the first lockdown. I went into the garage and started making a few. Family members were asking: ‘Oh can I have one?’, so we thought we’d start doing it for charity. And then we began selling them.”

“I think we made roughly around three thousand copper hearts during lockdown, and we raised about ten thousand pounds by making those. The charities were really grateful for the donations. During the lockdown, many couldn’t open any of their shops, and all the events that they had planned were cancelled, so they were so grateful for any donations that they could receive.”

Dan was surprised and touched by the impact that the hearts were having.

“I’d deliver them, and then, especially with the elderly people, they probably hadn’t seen many people for three to four weeks, or even sometimes for a couple of months. I’d just stand there, a couple of metres away from the door, and listen to them talk. Sometimes they would start crying just because of the heart.”

Lyndsey gave further insight into Dan’s motivations.

“I nominated Dan for this award just because he’s so caring. He’s always going to go above and beyond for everybody. If he can help somebody, he always will. When he was furloughed, he could have just sat and watched Netflix and not done anything, but he decided to spend his time helping other people. And even when he went back to work, he was still doing it in the evenings and pretty much every waking hour. He’s just such a genuine, caring person”

Watch Dan’s story in full here.

There are two more showcase stories to come from Pride of Plumbing, so keep an eye out on the Hep2O social channels for the announcements.