Plasterer pays dearly for his charity

The plasterer who rallied a community to help repair a Foxton couple's meth house has fallen on hard times.

SBR Plastering owner Kris Harding will close his business on October 1, eight years after opening.

Harding is well known for his work on the home of Derek and Ceridwen Hooper earlier this year.

The newly retired couple moved into a new place on Norbiton St only to discover it was dangerously contaminated with Class A drug methamphetamine. After paying to decontaminate it the Hoopers asked Harding to do some plastering.

He took the their plight to the media and helped co-ordinate a full renovation of their home over six weeks.

More than 50 people from around the lower North Island worked on or contributed to the project. The Hoopers were back in their house in March.

Harding gave away his time for free, and he told the Manawatu Standard that was part of the reason he was closing.

"I don't want to be a downer on what we did, I certainly don't regret doing it, but six weeks' free labour probably didn't help. It got me into a bit of debt."

When news of his good deed made national headlines, extra work came in for Harding and he said he had hired someone to help him keep up with demand.

"I've been slowly trying to pay things off but I've got five kids at home that I'm trying to feed and I'm just a bit sick of the stress, sick of not having a stable paycheque, and I'm sick of telling my other worker I can't pay him today."

He had sold his company car and was using the family minivan to go to jobs. "I've decided to throw it in and try to get a job somewhere else. It's sad because my business has been my baby for the past eight years."

Manawatu Standard