Army veteran living in Germany who wants to die among family in Northampton not entitled to sheltered accommodation

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A retired soldier living in Germany is not eligible for sheltered accommodation in his home town of Northampton despite serving his country for 28 years.

Northampton-born John Mayhew, aged 73, was in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, serving in Northern Ireland and Borneo among other places.

Like many British Army veterans he retired to Germany with his wife but has latterly been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

Realising he may be close to the end of his life, he desperately wants to come home and live out his last days among his family in Northampton.

But pleas to be allowed the sheltered accommodation he would need have been denied.

Northampton Borough Council, which runs sheltered housing, says his assets, including his army pension, mean he is most eligible.

They blame Government edicts that constrain how much discretion they can give, which the Department of Communities and Local Government has denied.

But the armed forces charity SSAFA (formerly the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) said, given the much-publicised community covenant, veterans should be special cases.

Mick Scanlon of SSAFA in Germany said: “I’ve been fighting for John for a year now and getting nowhere.

“The thing is that we were successful with another chap with Wigan council in identical circumstances.

“Given his years of service to his country why does he not qualify for help when he needs it? He simply doesn’t want to die in Germany.”

Mr Mayhew’s daughter, Linda Beasor, said: “The most annoying thing is that he still to this day pays income tax on his army pension.

“If the Government is taking that, where does his money go.”

A spokesman for Northampton Partnership Homes said: “Over the last few months we have been working with Mr Mayhew to see how we could support him with his wish to return to the UK. Unfortunately, although we are sympathetic to his situation, we are restricted by the law in what we can offer.

“He has followed the application process and at this time does not meet the criteria.

“We understand he is disappointed with the outcome and we are doing everything to see if there is any way we can help.”