Northamptonshire man left living in his car....away from his ill mother

Ciaran Cranfield
Ciaran Cranfield
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A man who was evicted from his Daventry home along with his mother who has dementia says he has been amazed at the community response.

Ciaran Cranfield lived in a bungalow in Williams Terrace with his mother Phyllis until they were evicted for their mortgage arrears. Now Phyllis, 85, is in a nursing home in Towcester, while Ciaran, 46, sleeps in his car or at friends’ houses.

He said: “The mortgage had been paid off, but in 2000 mum had a stroke and we needed money to made adaptations to the house, and I needed a car I could drive her places in. That was the start of the problems I guess. We didn’t know there would be a recession or that mum would get dementia.

“I worked as a contractor for BT, but I was also mum’s carer. We had carers coming in from social services, but I’d have to be at home to keep the dogs out the way. I couldn’t be as flexible as others and take jobs in Milton Keynes or spend the night away because I had to look after mum.

“On mum’s birthday in 2015 I was told there wasn’t enough work locally anymore and I lost my job. I admit I was stupid after that. I had depression and anxiety and I couldn’t face the financial problems.”

Arrears on their joint mortgage reached £12,000, and their lender issued notice they wanted the amount paying in full or they would lose their home.

Mr Cranfield said: “It took almost a year for them to decide if mum had the capacity to act on her own behalf.

“By the time the court hearings started we were into this year.

“I had a deadline of 10am on a certain day to pay the money, or an eviction order would come into force at 10.30am. I had spoken to Citizens Advice and social services and they said given my mum’s situation nothing would happen straight away.

“I managed to get a loan set up with help from friends and family and the plan was to cover the next four months to give us time to sell the house. But the money wouldn’t be available until that afternoon. They wouldn’t accept it. It seemed they just wanted the money and were treating us like a number on a spreadsheet.

“I had to drive back from the court to Daventry to meet the bailiff.

“Social services found a place for my mum in Towcester, but she doesn’t need to be in a care home yet. And being there is making her condition worsen quicker.

“I know mum won’t get better, but while she can still move and she knows me I wanted to make the most of that time we had.

“I applied to the council for housing, but as mum has a ‘permanent place’ in the care home she isn’t deemed a priority. I was offered a place for just me, but they wouldn’t accept dogs and they’re all I have left.

“There’s 43 years of memories and family items in the bungalow, but I can’t get any of it out. If I want to go in I have to pay up to £200 a day, plus VAT, for someone to bring the keys and watch over me. I don’t have that money, I don’t have anything.

“I do odd jobs and things to earn some money, but I’m travelling to and from Towcester twice a day to see mum.”

Mr Cranfield’s story appeared in the Sunday Mirror at the weekend after he told his story to Dementia UK.

Mr Cranfield said: “I didn’t do it for the money – they didn’t pay me. I just wanted to raise awareness.

“Since then I’ve had a few people offering to help me, and someone set up a fundraising page for me. I wasn’t expectng this and I didn’t do it to get money. I just want to get my mum out of the care home.”

The fundraising page for Ciaran and Phyllis can be found at www.gofundme.com/whzpb8x3.