baby

Footballer Ashley Cain’s daughter Azaylia has died aged eight months after heartbreaking battle with leukaemia

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-9509207/Ashley-Cains-daughter-Azaylia-passes-away-eight-months-old.html

Footballer Ashley Cain’s daughter Azaylia has died aged eight months after heartbreaking battle with leukaemia

  • Ashley and his girlfriend Safiyya Vorajee, 34, had documented Azaylia’s fight against leukaemia on social media, with more than 100,000 people joining the stem cell register
  • They launched a fundraising drive launched in her name raising more than £1million
  • Her story attracted global support – with Hollywood superstar Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson sending a video to Azaylia and her family 
  • The money was to fund a trip to Singapore for treatment but their baby girl became too unwell 
  • Brave Azaylia underwent four rounds of chemotherapy in her battle against the disease
  • Earlier this month, they took their baby girl home after doctors revealed there was no further treatment available when multiple tumours were discovered in her body
  • For help and support caring for children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, please contact Together for Short Lives on 0808 8088 100 or visit www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk 

By Rianne Addo For Mailonline

Published: 12:24, 25 April 2021 | Updated: 13:47, 25 April 2021

Ashley Cain’s daughter Azaylia passed away aged eight months on Saturday after battling acute myeloid leukaemia for the majority of her life. The reality TV star, 30, confirmed the tragic news on social media on Sunday, writing: ‘Rest In Paradise Princess. I will always hold you in my heart until I can hold you again in heaven ❤️ #AzayliaDiamondCain.’

Former footballer Ashley and his girlfriend Safiyya Vorajee, 34, had been updating fans on their baby girl’s health condition since she was diagnosed with the rare form of blood cancer at just two months old.   The couple recently raised more than £1.5 million to fund a trip to Singapore for life-saving transplant, but their little one became too unwell and doctors discovered tumours throughout her body.  Azaylia who inspired her father’s powerful ‘let’s go champ’ message underwent four rounds of chemotherapy in her fight and was recently nominated for a Pride Of Britain Award by thousands of supporters around the world.  The ex Coventry City winger and the aesthetic practitioner uploaded similar images of themselves cradling their little one before she passed. Azaylia’s mother Safiyya shared two photos cuddling her beloved daughter, with the caption: ‘You are my Angel my heartbeat my soul, RIP my precious baby, you will always be with me like a handprint on my heart.’

Celebrities including Kate Ferdinand, Jacqueline Jossa and Malin Andersson sent their condolences to the grieving influencer and his family.  The ex Coventry City winger and the aesthetic practitioner uploaded similar images of themselves cradling their little one before she passed. Azaylia’s mother Safiyya shared two photos cuddling her beloved daughter, with the caption: ‘You are my Angel my heartbeat my soul, RIP my precious baby, you will always be with me like a handprint on my heart.’

Celebrities including Kate Ferdinand, Jacqueline Jossa and Malin Andersson sent their condolences to the grieving influencer and his family.  Her story attracted global support with Hollywood superstar Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson sending a video to Azaylia and her family.  On Friday, Safiyya had said she felt ‘blessed’ to have another day with Azaylia, telling her followers: ‘Azaylia had another turn. But she’s now rested and asleep and literally it makes your heart race with anxiety.’

Laying next to her poorly daughter, the doting mother continued: ‘But she gets through another day, blessed, my princess. And I feel so blessed. I am lucky to spend another day with you Azaylia. Every day is precious with you.’ 

The Ex On The Beach star told his fans his tot ‘stopped breathing’, became ‘stiff as a board’ and needed oxygen while they headed out for a walk.  In a lengthy caption, the social media star revealed his daughter needed the help of his palliative care nurses and oxygen after having a seizure.  He wrote: ‘We had our own little adventure today, even if it was just walking up and down the street. It was special!  I thought we’d make the most of the sun today and have a little walk, as nurses came and told us this morning, to make the most of this weekend as Azaylia is becoming very fragile.  Shortly after these photos were taken Azaylia had a seizure. Her eyes rolled back, she stopped breathing and her body went as stiff as a board. We put her on oxygen straight away and called for the oncall nurses.  After a few hours of close observation we managed to settle her. This has happened a few times now, but it never gets any easier.  Yet she continues to battle through! Your determination inspires me. You impress me each and every day. I’m so proud of you. I can’t imagine my life without you. I have faith in you. My Champion. My Hero. I love you.’

Later, Ashley also shared a video of his daughter settled next to him in the living room, writing: ‘Another scary moment with the oncall nurses out.  Now she’s settled and sleeping again. Her strength to keep bouncing back is incredible! I ain’t got no plans of this little one going anywhere this weekend.’  

He said: ‘The palliative care team told us to make the most of the weekend and you understand what that message means the fact of the matter is we make the most of her everyday, we make the most of everyday. I tell you what, I got no plans for her going anywhere this weekend. I’m an optimist. I’m a believer. I’ve got a positive mind frame and I know her strength. I know mine. I ain’t thinking them things because I don’t have to be told to make a special effort to enjoy her because I enjoy her every day. I ain’t got no plans of this little one going anywhere this weekend, trust me. Let’s go champ, the things you have to do.’ 

The father revealed her temperature spiked shortly after a hospital trip, before happening again when they reached home causing a nursing team to monitor her until 1am.  Ashley admitted ‘there’s a lot you don’t see’ as he detailed the recent ordeal in an Instagram clip on Thursday during a 5k run after feeling ‘pain, stress and depression. The former sportsman explained: ‘Yesterday we got into hospital, got our platelets done and managed to sort her NG tube out, thankfully.  Then just as we were getting back into the car she had a spike in temperature and a seizure, her eyes were rolling, she was hot, she wasn’t breathing.  We had to get her on the oxygen straight away she settled then when we got home it happened again and we ended up having a nurse from the palliative care team at our house until 1am.’

On how Azaylia’s condition is affecting his mental health, the TV star went on: ‘It’s difficult, man there’s a lot you don’t see, there’s a lot you wouldn’t want to see.  It’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no breaks, but it’s all worth it because guess what? She woke up again this morning. All the hard work we’re putting in now, it’s worth it in the end to get that little smile, her eyes opening – it’s amazing.  It’s been months, but the last few days especially I’ve woken up feeling pain, stress, depression, that’s been consuming my mind as well as my body stopping me from doing the things that were second nature to me, and I don’t like it.’ 

He added that his little one’s resilience was keeping him going as he added: ‘I’m going to get up, get out, and get at it getting out today in the hope that when I walk back in my house, I’m going to be the best me that I can be for my daughter. I can give her the energy, commitment, and positivity, and I can help carry this ship to where it’s gonna be. Let’s go champ, we’re still in the game.’ 

For help and support caring for children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, please contact Together for Short Lives on 0808 8088 100 or visit www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk. 

Ashley Cain’s fundraiser for daughter Azaylia’s leukaemia treatment – who donated?

PrettyLittleThing founder Umar Kamani – £20,000

InTheStyle’s Adam Frisby – £10,000

Chet Johnson (Faded Clothing) – £10,000

Manchester United’s Luke Shaw –  £5,000

Mrs Hinch – £3,000 

Kate and Rio Ferdinand – £1,000

Love Island star Molly-Mae Hague – £1,000 

Love Island star Maura Higgins -£1,000 

Fulham midfielder Harrison Reed – £1,000 

Watford forward Andre Gray – £1,000

Nottingham Forest defender Cyrus Christie – £1,000 

West Bromwich Albion’s Robert Snodgrass – £1,000

Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden – £1,000

Ex On The Bea

What are the symptoms of leukaemia in children?

Fatigue and pale skin – this is because leukaemia can cause anaemia which makes a child feel weak, tired and light-headed.

Infections and fever – children with leukaemia lack normal white blood cells which would normally help fight infection.

Rash – children may have small, dark spots that look like common rashes if the leukemia cells spread to the skin   

Easy bruising or bleeding – this includes frequent nosebleeds, bleeding gums and bleeding a lot from small cuts.

Bone or joint pain – this is caused by a build up of leukaemia cells near the surface of the bone or inside the joint.

Swelling of the abdomen – leukaemia cells may collect in the liver and spleen causing them to enlarge.

Loss of appetite and weight loss – if the spleen and liver swell, they can press against the stomach causing loss of appetite.

Swollen lymph nodes – some leukaemias spread to the lymph nodes causing them to swell.

Source: American Cancer Society 

ch star Jemma Lucy – £1,000

JLS star Marvin Humes – £500 

Woman, 37, is charged with murder of newborn baby boy whose body was found in Hampshire woodland

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9413861/Woman-37-charged-murder-newborn-baby-boy-body-Hampshire-woodland.html

Woman, 37, is charged with murder of newborn baby boy whose body was found in Hampshire woodland

  • The tiny newborn baby boy was discovered in woodland in Hampshire in 2020
  • Investigating police officers arrested Silipa Keresi, 37, from Pylewell Road, Hythe
  • Keresi was also arrested last year but released on bail as inquiries continued 

By Antony Thrower For Mailonline

Published: 10:49, 29 March 2021 | Updated: 10:56, 29 March 2021

Police have charged a woman with the murder of a newborn baby boy. The tiny body was found wrapped in a white blanket in woodland in Hythe, Hampshire, on March 5 2020. Silipa Keresi, 37, also from Hythe, was arrested in connection with the death of the ‘recently born baby’ for the second time at the weekend. A Hampshire Police spokesman said Keresi was arrested in March last year and released on bail but remained under investigation while inquiries continued. A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said: ‘Silipa Keresi will appear at Southampton Magistrates’ Court this morning, Monday, March 29. She had previously been arrested back in early March 2020 after the discovery of the body of a recently born baby in an area of woodland in Hythe on Thursday, March 5, last year. She was initially released on bail then later released under investigation while enquiries continued. Detectives arrested her again at the weekend and following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service and have now charged her with the murder.’  

The tragic infant was discovered by retired HGV driver Michael Dorsett who was out walking his collie cross through the wooded area.  Officers appealed for the mother to come forward at the time and carried out door-to-door inquiries. 

Revealed: Chilling social media posts of teenage mother who ‘carried on like normal’ and tried to become a Pretty Little Thing model AFTER leaving her 20-month old daughter to die alone while she partied for her 18th birthday

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9406105/Teen-mother-admits-killing-20-month-old-daughter.html

Revealed: Chilling social media posts of teenage mother who ‘carried on like normal’ and tried to become a Pretty Little Thing model AFTER leaving her 20-month old daughter to die alone while she partied for her 18th birthday 

  • Verphy Kudi’s daughter Asiah Kudi died at home in Brighton in December 2019
  • Mother seen on CCTV leaving flat on her birthday and returning six days later 
  • Today, Kudi spoke only confirm her name and enter guilty plea for manslaughter  
  • Baby not under a child protection plan and there was no social worker assigned
  • Lived in sheltered housing block where staff are on duty by the front entrance 

By Rory Tingle For Mailonline

Published: 11:24, 26 March 2021 | Updated: 09:49, 27 March 2021

A mother who went on a six-day bender leaving her baby to starve to death took to social media to sell concert tickets on the day the body was found before campaigning to become a model. Verphy Kudi’s daughter Asiah perished in a flat at a ‘supported housing’ block in Brighton in December 2019 after being left alone for six days with no food or water.  A serious case review has been launched into the 20-month-old baby’s death after she was abandoned by her mother who went to London, Coventry and Solihull to celebrate her 18th birthday.  Now, it has been revealed Kudi tried to sell concert tickets on Twitter on the day the baby’s body was found. Another tweet showed her attempting to become a Pretty Little Thing model months after Asiah’s death.  Kudi’s flat was one of eight in a residential complex run by charity YMCA DownsLink to house vulnerable young families on behalf of Brighton City Council. YMCA DownsLink staff are located at the entrance to the block at all times. Residents with social workers can receive visits but because the flats are independent units YMCA staff do not enter the living areas or carry out regular inspections. Baby Asiah did not have a social worker. Kudi has repeatedly gone missing since the age of 14 and been the subject of numerous police appeals. MailOnline has asked the council if she had a social worker at the time of her baby’s death. Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership (BHSCP) an association of council services, police and NHS has launched a serious case review into the case. The mother, now 19, was seen on CCTV leaving the flat on her birthday before attending parties in London, Coventry and Solihull more than 150 miles away in the Midlands. A post-mortem examination and forensic tests found that Asiah starved, was dehydrated and developed flu. Her cause of death was given as neglect. Today, Kudi appeared at Lewes Crown Court to enter a guilty plea to manslaughter as her father watched on. Speaking after the hearing, Muba Kudi, 59, said: ‘My heart is so broken. My daughter was missing. She had been missing since the age of 14.’ 

Kudi’s sister, Aisha Batrane told MailOnline: ‘This whole situation has completely broken my family. It might be entertainment for the rest of the world but it’s totally shattered us. ‘We are heartbroken and angry at how Verphy behaved. Verphy had been estranged from the family for quite a long time and we had minimal contact with her. We have spoken to her and we’re still not clear what she was doing for those six days, who she was with and why she left like that? Who the hell knows? We can’t understand it. As a family we now want to be left alone to grieve and try and understand what’s happened.’

This morning, the judge ordered that all social services records relating to the case be disclosed to the defence ahead of sentencing.  The court heard how, after returning home from the party spree in December 2019, Kudi called 999 saying her baby would not wake up.  Asiah was taken to Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton but was declared dead on arrival.  Today, Kudi held her hands to her face after the charge of manslaughter was read to her. She spoke only to answer guilty to the charge and confirm her name.  Wearing a plain black top and black trousers with a blue medical face mask, she wiped a tear from eyes as her father looked on from the public gallery. Muba Kudi Verphy Kudi’s father sat with his arms crossed throughout the short hearing at Lewes Crown Court. His daughter waved at him from the dock when court staff pointed him out.  Asiah was born on March 22, 2018 and was only 20-months-old when she died. It is not clear who the baby’s father was.  She had been living at the flat in Brighton with her mother where they had been housed by social services since September 30, 2019.  Cameras showed Kudi leaving the building on December 5 at 5.39pm. She did not return until December 11, when at 6.06pm she dialled 999 telling a call handler her baby would not wake up. A few days later, staff at the Brighton mother and baby unit for teen mothers where they had been living contacted police after reviewing CCTV footage.   Data gathered by Sussex Police showed Kudi had been at parties in London, Coventry and Solihull before returning to Brighton. Kudi admitted the manslaughter of her daughter between December 4 and 12. Asiah was pronounced dead on arrival at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton on Wednesday December 11.  Judge Christine Laing QC told Kudi: ‘You have heard that before I get to sentence you the defence want to get a report on your behalf and a doctor will no doubt make arrangements to see you and interview you over the next few weeks.’ 

The case was adjourned to a provisional sentencing date of May 28, but Kudi was warned this may be delayed. Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership (BHSCP) said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Asiah. In our safeguarding role, we will work with our partners to look into what has happened and carry out a Child Safeguarding Practice Review. This includes working with our partner Sussex Police to make sure our review is carried out in support of or alongside their ongoing actions in this case.’ 

YMCA Downslink said: ‘This tragedy has shocked us all. Our staff, particularly those who work the complex, have been and continue to be, deeply affected by it. Verphy Kudi and her daughter, Asiah had been living at the independent living flats, for 11 weeks, when Asiah died. We will be working with the Safeguarding Practice Review to understand any lessons that can be learned from this tragedy. Our sympathies and thoughts are with the family and everyone affected by this tragic event.’ 

YMCA DownsLink was handed a three-year contract worth £336,000 by Brighton council to run the accommodation, starting on Sunday 1 September 2019, Brighton and Hove News reported.  The contact offered a ‘medium’ level of support for families, with all flats self-contained with their own kitchen, space for staff on duty, and a communal area for group activities.  It is not clear whether any staff visited the unit while Asiah was there alone. MailOnline has YMCA DownsLink.  The service used to be run by Peabody, which still owns the building and currently leases it to the council. Family Mosaic Housing, which later merged with Peabody, paid £15.5 million for the flats in November 2014. The Senior Investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Wolstenholme, said; ‘This was a particularly distressing case for my team and me to investigate, and has caused great sorrow amongst Verphy’s family and the many agencies that have supported Verphy and Asiah. We note the guilty plea entered in this case, and continue to prepare for Verphy’s sentencing in May.’ 

A council spokesperson said: ‘We have been deeply saddened by this tragedy. The case is currently the subject of criminal proceedings, and the city’s Safeguarding Children Partnership is also conducting a review of the circumstances in to the tragic death of this young child. We are undertaking an internal review, which will feed into the partnership review. We have fully supported the police investigation, and are committed to working with the Partnership in its review and taking learning from this. Asiah was not on a child protection plan and was not involved with social work services when she died. It would not be appropriate for us to comment further while the criminal proceedings and reviews are ongoing.’

‘I was sexually abused at 9 by mum and brother I had to dig up my dead baby to get justice’

WARNING: UPSETTING CONTENT. Maureen Wood kept her horrific childhood abuse secret for three decades, before finally feeling able to police that she had been sexually assaulted by her mother, step-father and brother

By Ann Cusack & Zoe Forsey Features Editor

  • 16:45, 17 MAR 2021
  • Updated16:49, 17 MAR 2021

Maureen Wood was first raped by her older brother on her ninth birthday. A year later, their step-father walked in on the abuse she felt relieved as she believed he would protect her and the nightmare would end. But he did nothing, and a few months later began abusing her too. She now had two abusers to cope with. “I hoped against hope that my mum might step in and help me. But she walked into my bedroom and called me a ‘little wh*re'”, Maureen says.

Soon after her tenth birthday, Maureen’s mother became involved with the abuse. Maureen says: “They used to make me sleep in their bed, between them, and they took it in turns to abuse me. My mum helped to get me ready for when my step-dad would rape me. It felt like the end of the world. With them all against me, I had nowhere to turn.”

Maureen kept her horrific childhood abuse a secret for three decades before telling police the horrifying things she had been through as a child. She had given birth to a son as a result of a rape by her brother but he tragically suffered a cot death. And it was the exhumation of his body, more than two decades after his death, which brought justice for his mother from beyond the grave. Maureen’s childhood torment had remained secret for most of her life, until she bravely called in police. Her abusers were jailed and Maureen launched a legal action against the social services who were supposed to have protected her. The brave mum of five was later awarded £200,000 in an out of court settlement from Staffordshire County Council. She has now written a book, entitled: ‘A Family Secret’ which will be released this week. Mum of five Maureen, 50, says: “The minute I went to the police, all my fear was lifted. It wasn’t my shame and guilt to deal with any more. By going to court, I handed the fear and shame back to my family. My baby son, Christopher, was vital to the prosecution’s case. The police had warned me that they would be unlikely to get a viable DNA sample from his body – but when he was exhumed, his body was intact and the sample was perfect. It feels as though he was looking down on me from heaven, helping me. He is a true angel my guardian angel.”

In 2015 Maureen received a settlement from social services, following a lengthy legal case in which she claimed they had failed to protect her from her brother as a child. Maureen says: “It was a kick in the teeth, I felt like I had been let down twice; by my family and then by the social workers. I took my children on a month long holiday to Disney with the money. But it doesn’t change what happened to me. I brought the case, not for the money, but to ensure that they don’t let this happen to another child.”

At Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court in October 2011, her stepfather, John Wood, then 68, was convicted of seven counts of rape and sentenced to 16 years in prison. Her 46-year-old brother John Donnelly, received two years in jail after admitting rape, incest and indecent assault. In a re-trial, her mother, Maureen Wood (senior), then 65, was found guilty of four counts of aiding and abetting the rape of a girl under 16. She was jailed in October 2011 for nine years. She says: “The abuse by my mother was, and still is, the hardest thing to process. As a mother, you nurture and protect your child but she destroyed me.”

Maureen had been placed in care at the age of three, after her parents separated. Four years later, her mother, Maureen senior, took her and her older brother, John, back out of care and they were introduced to their new step-father John Wood. When Maureen was eight, the sexual abuse began. She says: “I remember every detail of that day. We had been outside, having a water fight, and as I dried off in the bathroom, my brother, John, who we called Jock, came in and started touching me. I didn’t understand what he was doing but I knew it felt wrong and it was horrible.”

On her ninth birthday, Maureen was raped for the first time. A year later, their step-father walked in as she was being raped. Maureen says: “I felt relieved – because I thought he would stop it. I thought he would look after me.”

Instead, her step-father said nothing. And weeks later, he began abusing Maureen too. he says: “I hoped against hope that my mum might step in and help me. But she walked into my bedroom and called me a ‘little wh**e.'”

Soon after her tenth birthday, Maureen’s mother became involved with the abuse.

Despite her horrific family life, Maureen enjoyed school and did well academically. She had friends but confided in nobody. She says: “My family threatened that if I told anyone, I’d end up in care again. I was terrified of that. They said nobody would believe me and that I’d get into trouble with the police. It was difficult because, to the outside world, my parents were respectable people. They worked at a local social club and they were managers at the Masonic hall too. They were well-known and well-liked. I tried running away and once stayed away for two days. But the police found me and took me home.”

When she was 13, Maureen fell pregnant. By the time she realised, it was too late for a termination. Maureen says: “My mother was mortified; all she worried about was what the neighbours would think of her, with a 13-year-old pregnant daughter. Yet of course she knew that either her own husband or her son was the father. But she just blanked that out. The abuse stopped while I was pregnant. For the first time in my life I could remember, I wasn’t being abused and it was like a little piece of heaven. I was ordered to tell people that I was raped by a stranger but I knew, for certain, that my baby’s father was my brother.”

In October 1984, Maureen gave birth to a son, Christopher. He was born on her brother’s 19th birthday. She says: “Christopher had blond hair, blue eyes. It didn’t matter why he came about, or where he came from. He was mine. That maternal instinct kicked in immediately. I adored him with all of my heart and for the first time in my life, I felt what love was.”

But just under a month later, he suffered a cot death. Maureen discovered his body. She says: “When he died, I felt like my life had ended, my world had finished. He was the only person I truly loved. It was raining the day we buried him. I felt like the heavens were crying with me. I just wanted to die.”

After Christopher’s death, Maureen’s mother and brother stopped abusing her. But her stepfather began assaulting her again only a couple of weeks afterwards. The abuse continued until, at 16, Maureen left home. She had suffered eight years of horrific abuse. She says: “My teens were very difficult. I was grieving for Christopher and I felt very angry and confused. I drank too much and I went off the rails a bit.”

But despite finally finding happiness, Maureen was haunted by nightmares of the abuse. She realised she had to seek justice and eventually she contacted police. Maureen says: “It was 29 years since the abuse began and so the CPS insisted that the only way they would take the case to court was if the Home Office would approve an exhumation of Christopher. His DNA would prove that my brother was his father, and that I had been telling the truth. I was warned that the DNA sample was unlikely to be viable. Yet when his body was exhumed it was almost intact. The sample was perfect and it proved I had been telling the truth. It was almost as if Christopher was watching over me, helping my court case. He was and still is my guardian angel.”

Christopher’s body was exhumed in July 2009 and reburied a month later. Maureen has no pictures of him but she has the small plaque from Christopher’s original coffin. She says: “I didn’t want my baby to be exhumed. But it was the only way. The night before, I went to his grave and came away with a sense of peace. I felt I had his support.”

Maureen’s step-father, brother and mother were all convicted of the abuse. Her mother died in prison and Maureen found it in her heart to attend the funeral. She says: “My mum and step-dad never apologised. But my brother pleaded guilty and told me he was sorry. I still grieve for the childhood I didn’t have and for the mother I didn’t have. I think of Christopher every day. Writing a book is my way of making sure that my voice and the voices of so many others who suffer is heard.”

Maureen’s book is available on Amazon.

Depression and lockdown

We have been in lockdown for three months although it is slowly easing up. Pubs will be opening up but gyms aren’t or nail bars as examples and it doesn’t make any sense. People can get drunk and forget about social distancing which scares me even though we don’t go to pubs much. I’m looking forward to going out for a meal occasionally but it worries me for that reason – some people drinking too much. I would prefer to go to the health club but the reason why health clubs, leisure clubs and gyms won’t open yet is based on the grounds that when people sweat droplets can be passed on. So why is going to the pub any better when people get relaxed?

I can understand why people are splitting up and domestic violence are on the increase. We have suffered even more with depression as we haven’t been able to go out to places we like. My sister and brother-in-law celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in May but we couldn’t go due to the distance and social distancing. Their daughters and families went round but had to sit outside. One of their daughters and son-in-law’s neighbour had a party and someone reported them to the police so the party was stopped. My sister was worried that the same would happen to them but they managed to celebrate without being reported.

Her youngest daughter had her third daughter on the 29th of April which was hard for all of the family because they couldn’t visit properly. My niece’s mother-in-law works in a doctor’s surgery so she hasn’t been able to visit or have cuddles which is very sad. My sister was able to go round on the 30th of April with clearance from the midwife so I’m pleased for her. I’m looking forward to visiting and was pleasantly surprised that her mother-in-law said it would be nice to meet up – we are friends on Facebook.

To make life difficult for us even more is a neighbour who has taken a dislike to us. He came out one day having a go at us about our ten cats using his garden to do their business. We don’t have ten cats, one of our cats spend quite a bit of time over the road with her sister and comes over to us to eat. One of our cats has a hiding place which we haven’t discovered yet and comes in to eat. Our other two (four cats in other words) spend time in our shed, indoors or over the road with our other cats. The neighbour has threatened to let his dogs out if he sees ‘our cats’ in his garden. He has been warned if anything happens to any cats in the area he will get the blame due to the threats. Fortunately we have a good enforcement officer in our housing association.

The neighbour made a couple of other accusations, one of which is that my husband is a wife beater. That just made me laugh. We are both quite loud when we argue but once an argument is over and done with that’s it. However, my balance has been getting progressively worse over the years so I do fall regularly so I will shout out for help. We also had a rescued staffie who was beautiful and gentle but in recent months she didn’t like us going out even to walk her and our other dog. She would turm from a placid dog to an aggressive, barking dog. She became worse and worse for getting aggressive towards her playmate and we would intervene. In the end we couldn’t cope anymore and she was sadly put to sleep. The vet was very understanding and knew we didn’t want her to potentially hurt anyone else or put her back into kennels. She had been in kennels for most of her first four years then we had her for three years so she knew she was well loved to the point of being spoilt. Going to bed is still hard as she used to sleep under my knees.