Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting EJ NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Tributes to Sid, the former misery guts
11:02am Thursday 16th August 2012 in News
A GRUMPY old man who “hated” some of his neighbours turned over a new leaf after they rallied round to help him live out his days in his own home.
Sid Haines of Woodleigh, Drakes Broughton, admitted that he didn’t always have a high opinion of those who lived around him, and could be “coarse” towards them.
However, all that changed when they came to his aid during a period of illness.
In March last year Sid was laid up in hospital with pneumonia for 10 weeks. During this time his landlord, Rooftop, discovered that his bungalow had become unfit for habitation, and it looked likely he would have to move straight from hospital into residential care.
However, 10 of his neighbours knew how much Sid valued his independence and – with the help of a team from Rooftop – rolled up their sleeves to transform his living quarters.
Volunteers from the St Richard’s Hospice shop in Evesham, Worcester Freecycle and the Roundabout charity also helped out.
Speaking at a tea party thrown in his honour on return from hospital, he said: “I thought I didn’t have a friend in the street. At one time, my opinion of the people in this street was not complimentary – but I had the biggest surprise any human being could have.
“Because of them, I am able to stay here – otherwise someone would have put me in a home.
“Even people who I once hated came to help, and I don’t know what I can ever do to make it up to them.”
Sid was a familiar sight in Pershore, not least because he used to decorate his walking sticks with stuffed toys.
However, this year the 80- year-old’s visits became less frequent as his health failed, and he returned to Worcestershire Royal Hospital where he died of pneumonia on July 21.
Jean Miles, one of the neighbours who helped with the clear-up and visited him in hospital, said: “He was the same old character, but he stuck to his word and was a much better person.
“He would speak to people, walk around the cul-de-sac, nattering, and we went round often to see him.”
Juliana Crowe, Rooftop’s housing and communities director, said: “We are very sad to hear of Mr Haines’ passing. He was a tenant of ours for many years and we know he had a reputation for not getting on with his neighbours.
“It is pleasing to know that even late in life he was able to re-adjust his view of his neighbours and that his latter years were spent among people that he called his friends, and who were there to help him when he was most vulnerable.”
Also a keen fisherman, Sid was married to Josephine, who died four years ago.
His funeral is at 9.30am at Worcester Crematorium on Friday, August 24.