East Leeds family’s emotional care plea

CARE BATTLE: Peggy's son Kevin Rhodes and her granddaughter Alison.  PIC: Mark Bickerdike
CARE BATTLE: Peggy's son Kevin Rhodes and her granddaughter Alison. PIC: Mark Bickerdike
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Tears were shed as two sisters spoke up in front of council chiefs in a bid save to two Leeds care facilities loved by their late grandmother.

Stacey Rhodes, 28, and Alison Rhodes, 22, spoke up during a packed public meeting at the Methodist Church, in Butcher Lane, Rothwell, on Wednesday, July, 20.

Their grandmother, Peggy Rhodes, spent time in Dolphin Manor Residential Home, in Stone Brig Lane, and at Rose Farm Day Centre, in Cornwall Crescent, but passed away in March this year, aged 81.

Stacey, a senior administrator from Methley, said: “They changed her life, she loved Rose Farm and Dolphin Manor.

“If she had still been here she would have been so proud, she would have wanted us to speak up about it.”

Around 60 people attended the Rothwell Tenants and Residents Association and Open Minds meeting, in which locals quizzed Leeds City Council’s director of adult social services, Sandie Keene, on proposals to close both centres.

Staff and visitors were reduced to tears and applauded after Stacey said: “We just wanted to say how happy they made our gran.”

A former Methley Colliery office worker and sunbeam dancer, Peggy suffered a stroke in 2004 that left her partially paralysed.

Over the following seven years she was in and out of homes for respite care and spent six months in Dolphin Manor after floods in 2007.

Alison, a financial assistant, said: “She seemed different when she was at Dolphin Manor, she seemed happier.

“She loved her own home but she was lonely. She became more relaxed and happy and she’d always tell us the latest gossip.”

Later in her life, Peggy began to lose her short-term memory and suffered with dementia, making her poetic tribute to Rose Farm even more remarkable.

Stacey said: “When something made her happy she wrote a poem about it.

“Her memory was going but she remembered everything in that poem. It was her way of expressing happiness and thanks.”

Kevin Rhodes, 59, who along with his brother Wayne helped to care for his mother Peggy, said: “The council should realise what a good job they do and just how much the residents love it, you can tell everyone’s happy.”

The council reviewed its 19 residential care homes and 16 day centres earlier this year.

A decision over the future of Dolphin Manor and Rose Farm, which are two of the nine facilities under threat, is expected to be made in September.

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