Leeds pensioner's bird table battle

To Ivy Collins, a lonely 90-year old, it was a small daily comfort and a welcome connection to her adopted feathered family.

But this simple wooden bird table has got some people into a real flap – and now Ivy has been forced to take it down.

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Two days before Christmas, frail widow Ivy, from Yeadon, received a visit from Leeds City Council housing officers informing her she must

take the contraption off her porch.

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Pal Albert Collins, 88, had built the table for his friend and put it there so she could feed the flock of starlings on her roof, which she has adopted in recent years.

"The council came and said remove it," Mr Collins – who shares the same surname as his neighbour but is not related – told the YEP.

"They just stood at the door and told me to take it down.

"They did not go into detail about why, but perhaps a neighbour complained."

Mr Collins added: "When she gets up, the first thing she does every day is get bread and bird seed out.

"There are about a half a dozen starlings which are more or less waiting for her. They rely on her.

"She just cannot understand why somebody would object to it.

"It's only 13 inches square and only hangs on her property. Nobody has ever rung the doorbell and said anything about it before. It's a bit mean-spirited, especially at this time of the year."

Mr Collins said that Mrs Collins has no other surviving family, except an ill sister who is in a care home in Scarborough.

"Ivy is 91 in April. She's only got me and the birds," he said.

It's the second time in three years Ivy has had to endure an unwelcome Christmas interruption.

Three years ago, thieves stole an angel statue from her garden.

It was a memorial to her only son Leslie, who had died a few years earlier of a heart attack aged just 40.

Speaking to the YEP at the time she said: "It's come as a shock to me. You never expect this sort of thing so near to Christmas. We are in such a rotten world."

Ivy said of the bird table row: "I would not like to think that I could not feed them in the morning. They depend on me."

A council spokeswoman said there had been a "misunderstanding" and Mrs Collins was only "advised" to move the bird table to the other side of her garden because it was over-hanging onto a neighbour's boundary.

She was also advised that feeding the birds could attract rats.

Stephen Byrne.

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