A hard-working teenager has set up his own odd jobs business to help pay his way after his parents had to give up work due to illness.

Rather than spend his summer holidays playing computer games, Alec Hunter Academy pupil Harry Bartlett, 15, created Harry’s Helping Hands to help support his dad Mick, mum Kate and brother Stanley.

Harry, of St Vincent Chase, Braintree, is using the cash he earns to contribute to the household bills, and so far business is booming.

He said: “I feel business is going really well. I started things around a month ago because I wanted to help my parents.

“I will help my mum and dad out with the bills.

“People seem to be impressed with how hard I work.

“I want to carry on doing it next year during school at the weekends.

“Obviously I will need to concentrate on my GCSEs too.”

Dad Mick has a rare genetic lung condition - alpha-one antitrypsin deficiency - and is awaiting a double lung transplant.

Kate Bartlett, Harry’s mum, said: “He was born with it but we had no idea until 2011 when his health started to decline.

“He was medically retired in December last year because he failed an oxygen assessment. I gave up work to care for him so our financial situation changed massively.”

Harry and brother Stanley, 13, are also carriers of the condition, meaning there is a 50 per cent chance they could become seriously ill later in life.

This means both have to be very conscious of their health, much more than others their age.

Mrs Bartlett said: “I think that happening to Harry pushed him towards starting the business.

“He is determined to show this is not going to beat him, that is his driving force.

“He is a very good role model for his younger brother who really looks up to him.

“I am the proudest mum in the world.”

Harry completes most general gardening and labouring jobs, and is so busy his phone is ringing almost off the hook.

Mrs Bartlett, who admits her son used to be a typical teenager, said: “I was sceptical at first and I didn’t know how it would go, but he has really surprised me.

“I think because of his age people have really taken to him.

“Not many 15-year-olds are out their doing this kind of thing during summer.

“He needs more than seven days in his week at the moment.”

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