A 90-year-old grandmother has gone on hunger strike in a desperate effort to save her residential home from the council's axe.

Thora Falkingham has been taken from Meadowcroft Residential Home in Bowling, where she has lived for four years, to a special medical unit after refusing food or drink.

She now faces being force-fed by nurses amid growing concern for her health.

Today her distraught daughter Julie Keighley said her mother was protesting in the only way she could at controversial proposals to shut down the old people's home.

"She is extremely weak at the moment and I have not seen her in this state before," she said. "I am extremely concerned because she seems to be getting weaker and weaker by the day."

Meadowcroft is one of four residential homes under threat as Bradford Council looks to slash costs.

Mrs Keighley, of Wyke, said her mother had been worried since the controversial plans were announced in August.

Mrs Falkingham's behaviour has changed markedly since then, culminating in her refusal to eat, drink or take her medication.

After more than 36 hours without food or drink, she was taken to the special unit in Bradford for observation on Friday.

"I am very upset and very angry at what is going on," said Mrs Keighley, 61. "If this had not happened, she would still be quite happy in her own way. I am convinced she is using the only weapon at her disposal to fight these plans.

"I blame Bradford Council and Bradford Social Services for their failure of care and whatever happens now I lay at their door."

The Council is considering shutting Meadowcroft, along with Greenacres in Clayton, Broadstones in Holme Wood, and Woodward Court in Allerton.

It has been holding a consultation exercise ahead of a public meeting later this month, but campaigners fear the decision has already been taken to shut the homes.

Today Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe called for the consultation period to be scrapped and funding looked at again.

He said: "There must be a better way of doing this because otherwise we will end up with more cases like this poor lady."

Today Kris Hopkins, Bradford Council's executive member for the community, said he wanted to know the full facts of Mrs Falkingham's case before commenting. He said the Council was keen to hear people's views about the proposed closures.

Protesters fighting the proposed closures have stepped up their campaign.

Chris Howson, curate of St Christopher's Church in Holme Wood, joined relatives and staff from the homes affected in Bradford city centre on Saturday for a protest.

"We've had 100 per cent support from the people of Bradford," he said. "Nobody can see the sense in closing down homes that are full of people who are happy where they are."

Another demonstration will be held in the city centre next Saturday, followed by protests outside Council meetings on October 22 at 3pm outside City Hall and at the scrutiny committee meeting at 5pm on October 24.

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