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Cumbrian war veteran's lottery bid to save care home

When most people play the National Lottery, they dream of being able to afford fancy cars and exotic foreign holidays.

Frederick Roy Allen  photo
Frederick Roy Allen

But 89-year-old World War Two veteran Frederick Roy Allen just wants to win enough money to save the Workington care home where he lives from closure.

Richmond Park is at risk because of a Cumbria County Council plan to allow more elderly people to live in their own homes, rather than residential centres and to improve care quality in those that remain.

Mr Allen is among those pleading with councillors currently considering the closure plan not to let it go ahead.

Walking with the aid of a stick, he is too infirm to get out to the shops so his family buy lottery tickets for him – sometimes up to five a week.

And while he may be nearly blind, he can still see the merits of keeping Richmond Park on High Street open.

“We want to keep it open because it is a marvellous place. The staff are absolutely wonderful and they all deserve medals as big as dustbin lids,” Mr Allen said. “The carers are second to none. They can’t do enough for you and the food is excellent.

“There is a buzzer with a lady on duty and I can have a drink of milk if I want. It’s like a big family.”

Mr Allen, who will be 90 in May, previously lived in a comfortable purpose-built annex next to his daughter and son-in-law on Beech Lane, Cockermouth.

But when he came to the home for respite care he loved it so much that he wanted to stay. Arrangements were made for him to move in permanently and he has been living there since January.

He said: “A room was available and I wanted to be looked after. And they [his daughter and son-in-law] aren’t getting any younger.”

Daughter Sue Blow, 65, said: “Even though we live in Cockermouth, he chose Richmond Park. He has companionship here and you need friends no matter how old you are.”


Mr Allen, who was born in Staffordshire, joined the Territorial Army and went on to become a full corporal in the Royal Engineers and a staff instructor. He agreed to work down the mines as an electrician in order to get demobbed early and became a heavy plant operator when he returned from service.

Mr Allen says if is lucky enough to win the lottery, he would be happy to give all his winnings towards the future upkeep of the home.

Petitions against the closure of Richmond Park and Park Lodge in Aspatria have already been handed over to county councillors.

Consultation on their closures – and that of Woodlands in Distington – ended earlier this month.

A council spokesman said: “The consultation has now closed and no decision will be made until the county council’s cabinet take a decision at a meeting before the summer. It’s therefore a bit premature to comment further at this stage.”

Have your say

My grandfather spent may years in Richmond Park before he passed away; he also served his country during the 2nd world war. I think it is a disgrace the county council want to shut this care home. Some of these pensioners will never see anyone from day today living in their own homes & there reason they live in these care homes is because they CANT take care of them self at home.
The staff at Richmond Park are some of the nicest you will ever meet.
Stop sending Billions to India (who currently fund their own space programme) as they do not need it, there is plenty of folk in this country who need it.
Great Britain yeah right!!!!!

Posted by Lewis Wright on 28 February 2012 at 11:18

In response to Red White and Blue - your comments should be applauded Sir and I totally agree with your sentiments.
We are throwing away billions of pounds on a conflict that wasnt anything to do with the UK (what are the likes of Norway doing who are also a member of NATO ?) We pay to keep an Islamic terrorist in this Country and yet we extrodite an elderly Englishman to go on trial in America for allegedly trading arms with Iran ! This elderly gentleman in Workington is using his own money to save his home from being closed by the council, Cunningham - earn your pay and put a stop to this closure - do something positive for once. A case like this should be highlighted in the national press and I urge the evening news and star to use its contacts to do so.

Posted by Mark on 28 February 2012 at 10:27

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