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Home for old musicians faces the final baton

PUBLISHED: 16:36 06 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:50 12 August 2010

Bromley
22-07-08
Ivor Newton House
Home for former Musicians under threat of closure
Resident Leonard Davis in his room

Bromley 22-07-08 Ivor Newton House Home for former Musicians under threat of closure Resident Leonard Davis in his room

BRITAIN S only residential home dedicated to taking care of elderly musicians is due to close in October next year, it was announced on Tuesday.

BRITAIN'S only residential home dedicated to taking care of elderly musicians is due to close in October next year, it was announced on Tuesday.

Residents at the 21-bed Ivor Newton Home (INH), Edward Road, Bromley, are devastated by the Musicians Benevolent Fund's (MBF) decision to axe the 'irreplaceable' home.

INH was once home to Czech conductor Vilem Tausky and British conductor Stanford Robinson.

Amongst the plethora of instruments played by residents is a Steinway piano which stands in the lounge.

Viola player Len Davis, 94, said: "The residents are devastated and some could suffer extreme trauma because they are already living in permanent confusion.

"We came here with good reason to think we would be here for life. The owners knew we expected that. Many sold their homes because they wanted to spend their final years in this environment.

"The MBF should at least have the humanity to run Ivor House down and allow remaining residents to stay."

Volunteer at INH, Mary Bridger, expressed her outrage at the closure and blamed the MBF for not keeping the home at its full capacity.

She said: "During the last year, the residents have been extremely worried about their future because of the ac tions of the MBF.

"If they have to move, they will have difficulty fitting in to what must inevitably be an institution with minimal music activities.

"The home is a wonderful place, anyone musical would be pleased to be there. The MBF is partly to blame for the closure. I had lived in Beckenham for 18 years before I knew about the home.

"There has been a serious lack of advertising during the last few years which is why the home is not full. An aggressive advertising campaign needs to be undertaken now.

"It is essential that this wonderful home is saved for the benefit of present and potentially future musicians."

MBF Chairman, Richard Lyttelton, said: "This decision has not been taken without a great deal of thought.

"But it has become increasingly difficult to fill the home as more and more people seeking our support wish to go into residential care closer to their home or near their family.

"It's always distressing to have to consider the closure of a home, particularly one held in such affection as Ivor Newton House, but the MBF has an obligation to consider the best interests of all its beneficiaries and how best to achieve their greatest long- term benefit."

marina.soteriou@archant.co.uk

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