95 and facing eviction

DETERMINED: Bessie Preston, 95, the oldest resident at Barnfield, a sheltered home at risk of closure. (d16081143)
DETERMINED: Bessie Preston, 95, the oldest resident at Barnfield, a sheltered home at risk of closure. (d16081143)
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THIS is Bessie Preston. She is 95 and faces being forced from the home where she thought she would see out her days.

Along with others at the Barnfield retirement complex in Dewsbury, she has endured a knife-edge and tearful week.

Anchor, the not-for-profit charity which runs the complex, has told the 55 residents that the future is uncertain. Barnfield could close or be taken over by a new landlord. And the residents have to wait until November before their fate is revealed.

Fear is stalking the Beckett Road complex as residents – elderly and some with mental health issues – face the break-up of precious friendships and the possibility of moving away from family.

But they are also determined to fight their corner. Led by 69-year-old resident Mike Neville, a special meeting has been held where it was decided to tell Anchor that the people of Barnfield want to continue living in Dewsbury.

Bessie Preston summed up the mood when she said: “I’m not moving now. Not at my age. We are one big happy family here and if we are broken up I don’t know what we will do.”