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ELDERLY DISABLED MAN BATTLES TO BE REUNITED WITH FRIENDS

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An elderly cerebral palsy sufferer who says Tameside MBC will effectively sign his death warrant if it separates hi...
An elderly cerebral palsy sufferer who says Tameside MBC will effectively sign his death warrant if it separates him from his surrogate 'family' has taken his case to London's High Court.

Tommy Lindley, aged 69, has lived at the Katherine House home in Bentinck Street, Ashton-under-Lyne for 20 years and he and other residents were horrified when Tameside announced plans to close it down.

The majority of the other residents, who Mr Lindley regarded as his 'family', were later moved to another home, Lomas Court, and now the pensioner and one other man, Ernie Hilditch, are the only remaining residents at Katherine House.

However, the council took the view that Mr Lindley needs 24-hour care - which is not provided at Lomas Court - so he was separated from the friends he viewed as his family.

The case is of such importance to Mr Lindley, that he says the council 'may as well move me to a boneyard' if he has to live without his pals.

But, refusing to take the decision lying down, the pensioner took to the High Court in London where he asked Mr Justice Hodge to overturn the council's decision not to house him at Lomas Court and to provide him with the care he needs there.

However, after a day of intense legal debate, the judge yesterday reserved his decision in the anxious case and is now expected to give his ruling later this month.

Parishil Patel, for Mr Lindley, said Katherine House was his 'home' environment and that representatives of the council had written to him in 2005 saying that he would be housed - along with his friends - at the newly-built Lomas Court.

However, in June 2005, the council changed its stance and concluded that Mr Lindley and another resident, Cyril Bowden, required 24-hour nursing care and that they would therefore not be able to be accommodated at the new centre.

In October last year, a top judge gave Mr Lindley permission to challenge the decision not to keep him with his chums - saying it was 'arguable' he had a 'legitimate expectation' that he could remain with them.

Furthermore, said Mr Patel, in November 2005, the council carried out a further assessment that indicated Mr Lindley 'did not require nursing care but simply personal care'.

He told the judge: 'In other words, the basis of the council's refusal to move Mr Lindley to Lomas Court in accordance with earlier promises disappeared.'

Mr Lindley's friends were moved to the new centre in December 2005.

And, speaking outside court after the hearing, Ms Hossack said: 'The treatment of disabled people in our country is utterly atrocious and rather than Tony Blair going abroad, he needs to come home and give my clients the help they need.

'Tommy was promised in writing three times that he would be moved with his fellows.

'If he loses this case, he will be moved to a care home outside the area where he lived for 20 years.

'He has said: 'if they move me there, they may as well move me to a boneyard'.

'It's about time politicians and judgeswoke up to their responsibilities,' she added.

STRAND NEWS SERVICE

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