A vital care facility for the elderly and those with early-stage dementia, Pelham House was hit by the pandemic in May, when one of its residents returned from hospital having been tested for Covid-19, but the results not revealed until after the 96-year-old war veteran returned to the Home. Within two days, 18 of the 20 residents and five staff had tested positive for the virus.
Francis died soon after in a hospice, and nine of the other residents also died within a matter of days. The staff had already been going through the most emotionally and physically demanding time since March, and the owner and general manager, Roger Waluube attended ten funerals in a matter of days - the Home would normally expect three or four of these sad occasion in a whole year.
The future of the Home now lies in the balance - its role as a hub for community events such as a dog show, summer barbecues and even a Donkey Derby, is now under threat unless if can raise enough funds to help it through the most difficult time of its 42-year history.
However, the neighbourhood and the local community has come together with the Home to launch this crowdfunder in a bid to secure its survival.
There she goes - supporting the appeal!
BAFTA-winning actress and Folkestone resident, Jessica Hynes, has lent her support to the appeal. The popular actress is well known for her roles in 'W1A', 'Year after Year', '2012' and currently 'There She Goes', among many others.
"It is a tragedy that people have suffered in the way they have," she says. "My heart goes out to the families of the people who have sadly died at this time, in a way that could have been preventable.
"And also my thoughts are with the residents and carers who would have been massively affected by this - it's a trauma."
The daughter of a former resident at the Home before the pandemic hit said:
"Pelham House isn't just a care home, it's like a second family. They looked after my mum for five years until the end of her life, and it wasn't just the care and treatment, I felt that the staff loved her as well".
The Home's existence over the next six months depends on the success of this important fundraising appeal for an enterprise which has meant so much to the residents, staff, local community and friends and relatives.
We are in the process of applying to be a social enterprise that is focused on developing and improving services within our local community for those suffering with dementia. We will reinvest profits to enable our vision of being a dementia specialist centre of excellence, offering nursing, residential, respite and day care services, as well as promoting the health and wellbeing of those who care for people with dementia.
Following an overwhelming amount of support we have kindly been donated a number of prizes from a variety of businesses, we are going to enter these into a raffle. Anyone who donates over £100 will automatically be entered. More details to follow..