A DELIGHTED Edward Meakins has expressed his relief at being allowed to stay in his family home of 74 years.

The 83-year-old was presented with a had delivered letter from Barnet Homes on Monday explaining staff will not be pursuing action to force him from his Cricklewood home.

The housing management organisation had said the bachelor would not be able to remain in the three bedroom property, in Cloister Road, after his sister Margaret died in May.

But following huge public outcry, Barnet Homes backtracked, and Mr Meakins said: “I'm over the moon.

“At first, I couldn't understand whether I had got the house or not. I had to take it to a friend who said 'that's it, you've got the house'.

“It means everything to me, I can't really explain it. After all these years of living here with my sister, I couldn't understand why they wanted me to more out.

“It is not as if I had just come here, 74 years is a long time. It has been a terrible wait for me. I don't know how long I could have carried on really.”

The letter to Mr Meakins, from Barnet Home chief executive Tracey Lees, said she recognised the pensioner “may be feeling a great deal of anxiety about your housing position”.

She then went on to confirm that if he does wish to stay in the home, then Barnet Homes will not pursue any eviction proceedings against him.

Mr Meakins' plight, which was exclusively revealed by the Times Series, attracted support from thousands of people on Facebook, with hundreds more signing online petitions.

And the former window cleaner said: “I am very pleased with the support I received.

“To those people who have supported me, I am very grateful for what they have done for me.

“It was lovely to hear about the support. Now I can carry on with my life, and continue looking after my garden.”

His niece, Rita Meakins, has been helping her uncle, who is known to friends and family as Ted, with his struggle to stay in his home.

She said: “This is just about everything we could have hoped for. We couldn't have asked for anything better.

“Common sense has prevailed and we can relax now Ted is settled. A weight has been lifted from all our shoulders.

“We are so grateful people have picked up on the story and supported him. It has definitely helped him. There is no way they would have let him stay if we hadn't gone down this route.”