Ipswich: Terrified pensioner threatened by cuts gets Evening Star Christmas hamper

IPSWICH: True to form, the stoic pensioner who has become the face of the campaign against council cuts today failed to see herself as a deserving recipient of our Christmas treat.

“There are lots of people out there doing a lot more than I am, I am just looking after my husband,” said Joyce Smith.

“We have been married more than 55 years and he would do the same for me if the shoe were on the other foot.”

Mrs Smith dedicates most of her week to caring for her beloved husband, Derek, 79, who has suffered four strokes. All she asks of anyone is a couple of hours a week respite so she can get on with her usual household jobs knowing that he is being lovingly cared for by the staff at Hawthorn Drive care home.

Her fears that she could lose this vital lifeline brought home to many the devastating effects the impending council cuts are likely to have on some of our most vulnerable residents.

“I have had three or four people stop me in town and speak to me about the story,” said Mrs Smith “They have all thanked me and said it has brought it to the fore.”

The fight to protect people like Mr and Mrs Smith, of Chantry, goes on.

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And today they are unpacking a stuffed hamper of luxury biscuits, chocolates, wine, port, cheese and crackers presented to them by The Evening Star and Ipswich Central.

“I didn’t expect this, the only reason I contacted the Star in the first place was to get my point of view across.”

The couple are planning on tucking into some of their favourite goodies including rich Christmas fruit cake and fine French cheese, followed by some festive sweets.

“He shouldn’t really have too many but we will be making the most of it this Christmas. It is all very lovely and we are very lucky.”

The couple have been separated over the past week, Mr Smith has been staying at the care home while Mrs Smith recovers from a cataract operation but they will be reunited in time for the big day.

“He keeps asking me how many more days until he can come home,” she said.

The campaigning pensioner, speaking from the care home, added: “We just want things to get back to normal now and we hope that come the New Year places like this will be able to remain open.

“Everyone here is lovely and we rely on them.”

n Opinion – page 6

n Do you have a Christmas surprise up your sleeve? Call the newsroom on 01473 324788 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.

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