Gran, 91, died in leaking flat covered in mold after council failed to fix home


Winifred ‘Winnie’ Wilson, who had cancer and dementia, spent her final days on a hospital bed in the living room of the Fulham temporary flat, where she was confused and uncomfortable

Winifred Wilson died at the age of 91
Winifred Wilson died at the age of 91

A grandma with cancer died in a damp-filled flat that the local council failed to fix for three years.

Winifred ‘Winnie’ Wilson died at the age of 91 in a Fulham council block.

Winnie and her daughter Sue Roberts, 67, were moved into the two-bed flat five five months ago after Hammersmith and Fulham promised to fix their council home nearby, My London reported.

The cancer and dementia sufferer spent her final days on a hospital bed in the living room of the temporary flat, where she was confused and uncomfortable, Sue said.

Sue is heartbroken that her mum died away from home while the council, which owns the building, has still not fixed it.

She has been fighting for three and a half years for the authority to repair multiple leaks and cracked ceilings at the home, which she shares with her son and three granddaughters.

The 91-year-old died in a damp and rotten flat


My London /BPM MEDIA)

Sue said: “It’s three and a half years too late and five months too late for mum. They go around saying things but doing nothing. It’s like Groundhog Day.

“They have not done a thing in this house for five months. The damp’s still in the kitchen. I don’t know where to go. I have moved back into the house because I can’t bear it in that flat.

“The whole process of having to try and look after mum and keep her calm knowing there’s chaos all over was difficult. It took my time away from mum.

“I’m quite bitter now that mum passed away. I think moving her like that helped her on her way. She hated that flat.”

Sue moved Winnie into the living room of the temporary flat after the bedroom walls started leaking.

She said her mum’s dementia meant she was confused when she looked outside and did not recognize the view.

Winnie spent her last Christmas away from the family home, where she wanted to live with her great-grandkids.

Sue said: “In my mind she could have been with us a bit longer. I could be totally wrong medically but she couldn’t understand the flat or the scenery outside being sky.

“People with dementia don’t like change full stop. It was very difficult for her.”

Sue and her family have been living out of boxes for nearly four years while waiting for repairs to their house.

She said: “The packing and unpacking, it’s constant and it never ends. It’s soul destroying. This is not a home. It’s like a squat with all the boxes.”

Winnie, who died at the end of last month, was born in Ireland and moved to London after the Second World War, finding work as a nurse in the capital.

She married Sue’s father, Walter, who served in the Royal Navy and had two children and eight great-grandkids.

Sue said: “Mum was a very happy person. She would give you the food out of her mouth. She was such a nice, generous lady and a good mum.

“She worked very hard all her life and was a strong woman. Her last months were extra stress on top of the problems she already had.

“That to me was a terrible thing. She just didn’t understand where she lived any more. Her lovely blue eyes always sparkled. She lost her sparkle.”

Hammersmith and Fulham Council was recently named as the worst authority in the country for damp and housing repairs.

The Labour-led authority has since pledged to invest £600 million in repairing and revamping its properties over the next 12 years.

A council spokesperson said: “We are deeply sorry for Ms Roberts’ loss and apologize again for the extended duration of the works to fix her home.

“The property has very complex issues that unfortunately require major repairs. We have been speaking to or visiting Ms Roberts at least once a week to provide updates and ensure the repairs are in good order and progressing.

“We will do our utmost to ensure the family gets settled and all issues resolved as soon as we can.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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