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Heather’s disabled, blind, mother went in to Beaumaris Care Home, Newport in January 2011.
Margaret with her great-granddaughter, Poppy, necklace clearly visible
In August 2013 after she had been there over two and half years Heather was asked to sign a contract, being told it was just a formality that had been overlooked. Heather naturally signed this without studying it. The terms of the contract were not explained nor was Heather given a copy. After all it was ‘just a formality’ and by this time her mother was far too frail to consider that she move to another home.
At a visit at the start of January 2014 Heather immediately saw that her mother was not wearing her gold necklace bought by her husband over 40 years before. Margaret had never ever taken it off in all the years since she was given it. She slept, bathed, showered, everything with it on, so naturally she wore it in the care home. As it was quite smug around her neck it did not cause any problems at all when dressing or undressing. The care home staff were all well aware of its significance and never removed it during her 3 year stay until it was taken. It had developed even more significance after her husband of over 60 years passed away in 2010 as it was her link to him. Being blind she could not look at photos to recall their many happy times, but she could always touch the necklace.
Heather immediately spoke to the senior member of staff on duty, who told her not to worry as someone had probably taken it off and put it in the safe. However there was no-one there who had access to the safe. Unfortunately it was 2 weeks before there was anyone who could open the safe despite Heather asking almost daily. When they realised it was not there, the staff then searched Margaret’s room, stripped her bed and so on but it was not to be found.
When the home manager accepted it was missing she asked Heather to obtain a valuation that they could submit to their insurers. Heather promptly did this and took it into the home. Until Margaret passed away in early March she visited the home practically every day, and on many occasions asked about the necklace, but was constantly fobbed off.
After her mother died the contact was mainly by telephone. Despite very many attempts to reach out to them there was no positive response at all. After a few months she was told that the head office was handling it. But they were very unhelpful, many promises to sort it out, phone back, email tomorrow &c. lead to nothing. Eventually Heather managed to speak to the managing director. His attitude was unexpected saying it was ‘fishy’, he recommended Heather took a legal route.
It was unfortunate the care firm took no action, had they done so there may well have been a chance of recovering the necklace, which was Heather’s ambition. All she wanted was the return of her mother’s necklace.