Residents' joy at closure u-turn

ELDERLY residents at a seaside home for the visually-impaired are today overjoyed by the news that it will stay open.They spoke of how they had wanted to die when they heard the St Felix Home for the Blind was to close - leaving them faced with moving out to other nursing and care homes.

ELDERLY residents at a seaside home for the visually-impaired are today overjoyed by the news that it will stay open.

They spoke of how they had wanted to die when they heard the St Felix Home for the Blind was to close - leaving them faced with moving out to other nursing and care homes.

But after a U-turn by the trustees of the Ipswich Blind Society, it has been agreed to give the home in Princes Road a reprieve, and a year to see if it can be filled and got back on an even keel.

Resident Mary Hutton, 92, said: “The news could not be better - I am over the moon. I have been here 12 years and there was no way I want to be anywhere else. The staff look after us brilliantly.”

Lilian Deans, 96, said: “When they said it was going to close I was devastated, I just wanted to die. But now I have a new lease of life. I am determined to celebrate my 100th birthday here!”

Bert Thorpe said: “I am just overwhelmed - I nearly cried when I heard the news. This home is a wonderful place. Everyone is so kind and helpful and we are looked after so well.”

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David Ball added: “We are all overjoyed. It's lovely. It was a very worrying time when they said the home was going to close.”

Doreen Anthony, whose mother is in the home, campaigned to save it and said the jubilation among the residents when the decision was announced had been worth all the hard work.

She said: “This home is a place where the residents are happy and the relatives are happy, too, having complete confidence their loved ones are being well cared for.”

The decision to leave rooms vacant because of the uncertainty over the future had led to a shortfall in finances, and this had been exacerbated by the use of more expensive agency staff rather than employing permanent staff.

She added: “We feel confident that by filling the vacancies, which would immediately generate income to the home, and by careful examination of the expenses to make the best use of all available funds, we should soon be in a far better trading position.”

What do you think of the loss of the St Felix? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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