| 3.3°C Belfast

Shankill bomb shop owner Elsie Frizzell (89) to lose her care home


Ravenhill Private Nursing Home in Greenisland, which is to close

Ravenhill Private Nursing Home in Greenisland, which is to close

The aftermath of the Shankill bombing which happened in 1993

The aftermath of the Shankill bombing which happened in 1993

Alan McBride

Alan McBride

Ravenhill Private Nursing Home in Greenisland, which is to close

A woman who lost her husband and daughter in the Shankill bombing is one of 36 people living at a nursing home which is due to close within weeks, it can be revealed.

Elsie Frizzell (89) has been living at Ravenhill Private Nursing Home for three years due to her ailing health.

However, her family are now faced with the difficult task of finding suitable alternative accommodation after the shock announcement on Thursday that the home is to close.

None of the families or the 65 employees who work at the home have been told when residents must leave.

However, it is understood that the Northern Trust, which currently has 33 people living there, is aiming to relocate residents within a month.

The Shankill bombing happened at the fish shop which was owned by Mrs Frizzell and her husband, John Desmond, in October 1993.

Nine innocent people, including Mr Frizzell and his daughter, Sharon, who was helping out in the shop, were killed in the explosion.

Alan McBride, who was married to Sharon, said: "As a family, we are absolutely devastated that the home is closing.

"Elsie has been through so much in her life. Her daughter and husband were killed in the Shankill bomb, she has had so much trauma already to deal with and now this.

"She was walking up the street, she had stepped out for a loaf of bread, when the bomb went off and her daughter and husband were in it.

"It's so distressing for all of us that this is happening now, although we don't want to tell Elsie until we have found her somewhere else to go."

Mr McBride said the family have been delighted with the care that his mother-in-law has received since moving to Ravenhill Private Nursing Home, which is located on the Shore Road in Greenisland, where properties can fetch in excess of £500,000.

"It's never easy to put a loved one in care, but she has been settled here," he said.

"It's so close to the sea and the views are wonderful, the staff are great, they look after her very well.

"One of the biggest concerns for us is, at 89 years old, what the impact of moving is going to have on her at this time in her life.

"She's had so much upheaval in her life and she has developed dementia, she will be 90 on her next birthday and she's very frail.

"With her dementia, she can still be very clear about things.

"For example she was a great baker and she was talking recently about how you make a Pavlova, but she can become confused as well.

"Her dementia has definitely got worse. She would ask where her husband is and I tell her he's away singing in the choir, because he used to sing in the choir and she'll say, 'Sure, he can't sing a note'.

He added: "Then she'll say things like, 'Didn't I have another daughter' and I'll tell her yes, but then tell her that she isn't very well.

"We thought this would be her home for the rest of her life and now we have to find her somewhere new and try and get her settled again.

"The staff here know her, they can't do enough for you and I was just saying the other day, before all this happened, that she is the best I have seen her in years.

"As a family, even though I am a son-in-law, I think what we have been through brings you closer together.

"It's a real tragedy this has to happen."

A petition calling for Health Minister Robin Swann to intervene and halt the closure of the home has been set up. It is available by logging on to www.change.org and searching for Robin Swann Save Ravenhill Nursing Home.

Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.

Already have an account?

Belfast Telegraph