Mansfield hoarder with more than 100 dolls calls in the professionals

A grandmother-of-nine who hoarded more than 100 dolls had to enlist professional help to clear her home after it became too hazardous for her family.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 3rd May 2017, 4:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 8:18 pm
Shut-Ins Series 2: - Britain's Biggest Hoarders, (Sue and Neil)
Shut-Ins Series 2: - Britain's Biggest Hoarders, (Sue and Neil)

Sue Richardson, from Mansfield, is no longer visited by her grandchildren thanks to her collection of dolls.

And she has now featured on Channel 4’s Britain’s Biggest Hoarders which looks at the growing phenomenon of compulsive hoarding.

During the programme, she said her house was very bare when she was younger but this changed a few years ago.

Shut-Ins Series 2: - Britain's Biggest Hoarders, (Sue and Neil)

She said: “I love stuff and I can’t say no. [People ask] ‘Would you like this chair? Would you like this pot?’ ‘Alright then’.

“I think the thrill of opening that parcel is like your birthday, it’s very strange.

“When we first moved in here we got it quite nice and then a few years after things started coming into the house, I don’t know why they just did.”

The 60-year-old shares her home with 100 dolls, four cats, two parrots and her husband Neil.

Shut-Ins Series 2: - Britain's Biggest Hoarders, (Sue and Neil)

She started hoarding dolls eight years ago when her mother died.

“I love all dolls I started off mainly collecting 60s dolls,” she said.

“My mum threw a doll away as the stuffing started coming out it was beyond repair - so they said. I was six when I got that doll and I absolutely adored it, I didn’t care about the sawdust coming out of her body, so yes these do remind me of that doll and I am still looking for it.

“It was a Christmas present from my mum and it was my best present ever and it was thrown away.”

She added she is unsure why she started hoarding.

She said: “You can’t bring the grandchildren round. You don’t know if they are going to fall or slip over so it’s easier for us to go to them.”

Her husband Neil also said on the programme that he was fed up of the hoarding.

He said: “She doesn’t know when to quit. She’s lost the plot with it and is going over the top with it. I am totally unhappy about it, 100 per cent. This is not the way I live.

“I am at my wits end. I’ve tried and tried.”

Compulsive hoarding has been identified as a mental disorder since 2013 and is recognised by the NHS. It is thought that between two and five percent of adults suffer from it.

Compulsive hoarding expert Clare Dahill works with sufferers and was enlisted to help Sue.

She told the Daily Mail it is something that affects people from all backgrounds.

She said: “I’ve dealt with retired teachers, social workers, people from very wealthy backgrounds. One man hoarded tractors — he had the land to do so. I know of a lady in Sussex who lived in a big house and ran the local neighbourhood watch scheme.

“Only after she died did her neighbours discover she had been crawling in and out of a window to get into her own house, so massive was her hoarding problem.

“Whether sufferers can get help depends on where they live. Even if they can get therapy, there is the question of who does the clearing? It’s hugely expensive.

“I once spent 25 minutes talking to a woman about whether she could bear to throw out an empty toilet roll tube.

“The hoarder’s brain does not follow the logic the non-hoarder’s brain does. They might have a letter from the Queen and a used tissue, and will be equally possessive about each.”

Copy thanks to Nottingham Post