Move over Betty the monkey - we have a new favourite Londoner in the form of retired painter and decorator Roy Thayers:
The pensioner was unable to walk more than 20 yards without suffering severe pain - leaving him a virtual cripple. "It was like someone stabbing me in the heart with a lump of wood and constantly twisting it," he said. "The pain was so bad." Doctors told Mr Thayers he risked a fatal heart attack at any time. Then he was told there was a nine-month wait.
Faced with that kind of news Roy decided to give the NHS waiting list a miss and went private instead, "All my life I paid into the system but they couldn't do anything for me,". The 77-year-old wrote out a cheque for almost £9,000 and had his life saving operation at Hammersmith Hospital the very same day. Later in the week the cheque bounced.
Not surprising really as Roy only had a tenner in the bank.
"The idea came on the spur of the moment. I love life, I love my dogs, I love fishing - why should I die for the sake of money?"
No reason that we can think of. After the threat of bailiffs didn't work (what were they going to do? Open up his chest when he opened the door to them?) it was agreed that Roy could pay off his debt with a £25 a month payment plan. Which is genius because if the surgeons stand by their work there should be no problem in Roy still being around for his 99th birthday when his debt is due to be cleared.