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Care home campaigner dies aged 107

One of Britain's oldest women, who fought to save her council-run care home from closure, has died, her family said.

Louisa Watts, 107, made headlines when she was among a group of elderly residents who vowed not to leave Underhill House in Wolverhampton, taking the fight as far as the Court of Appeal.

The six women lost their battle to stay at the 40-year-old home, which Wolverhampton City Council said did not meet modern standards, and were moved out in January.

Ms Watts, believed to be the fifth oldest woman in Britain, died on Friday at Bentley Court Care Home in the Wednesfield area of Wolverhampton.

Her son Derek, who had warned the upheaval of moving home could kill her, said: "It's heartbreaking, she died at 5.30pm last night.

"She didn't suffer, it was very peaceful and she wasn't in any pain so we are grateful for that. All the family was with her when she died. She just died of old age."

The 78-year-old added: "She had a good life and I have good memories of her."

Local councillor Steven Evans, who had supported the fight to keep Underhill House open, said: "Derek rang me last night to give me the news and obviously, the family are devastated."

Paying tribute to Ms Watts' "remarkable courage", he added: "In the twilight of her years she should have been enjoying her last days and not taking on the might of the council. The courage and spirit she showed will always live on."

The council decided to close Underhill House in April last year, prompting a legal battle by the residents and their supporters to keep it open. The fight was led by campaigning solicitor Yvonne Hossack, who has prevented the closure of more than 80 care homes, but the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the council in October.


From Belfast Telegraph