Stroke victim ‘a prisoner in her own home’

HADLEIGH: Shirley Upson is a prisoner in her own home.

The 60-year-old was left permanently paralysed from the waist down after suffering a debilitating spinal stroke - a rare condition which affects only 12 in every 100,000 people.

But nine months later, the mother-of-one is facing another battle as she attempts to lead something resembling a normal life.

Despite being confined to a wheelchair, the authorities have refused to fund the necessary adaptations to her Hadleigh home because husband Stephen is in work.

Mrs Upson, who was forced to give up her job as a quality control officer for Chings in Ipswich following the stroke, used to enjoy an active lifestyle and was particularly fond of cycling and long walks.

But now she spends most of her day stuck in the kitchen, unable even to push herself up the makeshift ramp, built by her husband’s colleagues, into the lounge.

Mrs Upson can’t take a bath or shower and has to contend with washing herself in a sink downstairs. At night, she sleeps in the lounge surrounded by medical equipment.

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“It makes me feel dreadful,” she admitted. “But while Stephen is working, we can’t get any money to carry out the work.”

Mrs Upson needs a through-the-floor lift and a stair lift - but the cost is far too expensive for the couple, who rely on Mr Upson’s wages from his �25,000-a-year job as a dispatch supervisor at Hadleigh Castings.

A spokesman for Babergh District Council said: “Babergh is obliged to apply nationally agreed criteria in evaluating whether any such application for a grant to adapt a private property is eligible for public funds or not. Sadly, in the case of the Upsons, the assessment showed that they did not qualify.”

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