Blind home protesters 'would rather die'

DISTRAUGHT elderly, visually-impaired residents of a closure-threatened care home have told their relatives they would rather die than move elsewhere.Today a campaign was launched to try to save the St Felix Home for the Blind at Felixstowe - with a bid to find a major sponsor.

DISTRAUGHT elderly, visually-impaired residents of a closure-threatened care home have told their relatives they would rather die than move elsewhere.

Today a campaign was launched to try to save the St Felix Home for the Blind at Felixstowe - with a bid to find a major sponsor.

Managers of the charity-run home in Princes Road have said there is no saving it because it has become economically unviable.

But relatives of residents believe it should be given more time.


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Doreen Anthony, whose 96-year-old mother lives at the home, has already written to Prime Minister Tony Blair to express her anger.

“This has been a huge shock for all the residents - we were not invited to be with them when they were told, and because I did not receive the letter, the first I knew was when I got a phone call saying my mother was very distressed,” she said.

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“My mother keeps saying she would rather die than face the disruption of moving to another home.

“The other residents are saying the same.

“They receive absolutely excellent care at St Felix, specialist care for their needs. They don't want to move at their age, lose special friendships and have to start again. That's just not fair.”

Former matron and a member of the board of trustees for the home, Sheila Fahy said: “I believe the trustees should give the home more time.

“There are vacancies, but that could all change within a matter of weeks or months and we could be full with a waiting list again - and that could change the whole situation.”

Managers of the 16-bed home though say it is not viable with vacancies.

The increasing impact of “care in the community” with more people staying at home instead of going into care homes, and the need to improve the century-old St Felix building, had had a huge impact.

A lot had been done over the years but potential residents and their families now expected en suite rooms and floor-to-floor lifts, which could not be provided.

Chairman of trustees Mark Davis said the home's management team would work closely with social services to minimise the distress to residents and their families and to help the residents get settled into alternative accommodation which best suits their needs.

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