A granddad who took care of his partner’s daughter while she was dying from cancer has been told he must leave his home of 27 years.
Kirk Raynor, 67, and from Beeston, spent decades living at the Broxtowe Borough Council-owned property in Beeston after he first moved in to help his fiancee, Andria Tapper and her daughter, Claire Tapper.
But Mr Raynor said he now feels “disposable” as he is expected to leave the property by June due to Claire, 41, passing away in February.
When Andria died in 1999 after a battle with lung cancer in her late 30s, Kirk said he made a promise to her to continue looking after Claire, who had learning difficulties brought on by a brain tumour.
“I gave up my flat in West Bridgford to be with Andria. We were engaged and I thought the cancer wouldn’t progress,” Kirk said.
“I made a promise to her, to care for Claire.”
Claire was also partially blind, and Kirk ensured he was there to help with everything from general house duties, cooking and taking Claire to appointments.
Tragically, Claire died on February 12 this year after going into hospital with an asthma attack and then contracting Covid-19.
“We had the same sense of humour, and everybody loved her,” Kirk added.
“People stood outside to line the streets when she died.”
After informing the council and the benefits department about Claire’s passing, Kirk was told he would not be able to stay in the property, as it could not be passed on to a third party.
Kirk, who is struggling with long Covid and receiving support for his mental health, said the whole situation has made him feel “disposable”.
“I spent 10 years in the navy and when I came out, I got no help,” he said.
“I worked in engineering for 20 years, until I injured my foot, I had to stop and that was around the time I moved in with Andria.
“Since Andria’s death, I have cared for Claire meaning the council has never had to sort out care for her.
“They are trying to get me out by June, I just feel as though I’m disposable.
“I can’t do anything, it’s like limbo. But there is a lot of life here [in this house].
“I have contributed to rent throughout my time here. I won’t be here forever.
“I can understand where the council sit, they are just following the book. I just took it for granted that I would get to stay.”
Kirk has four children of his own and 15 grandchildren, and says the extra space would mean some of them could still visit and stay over.
He also worries about moving away from neighbours he has come to know so well.
Kirk’s sister Georgina Mitchell has expressed her support.
The 68-year-old from Carlton said: “In the beginning, it was very difficult for Kirk to care for Claire but he’s always done his utmost.
“Claire was so lovely. She was told she would only have so many years, but it was Kirk’s wish to look after her after Andria died and he fell in love like she was his own daughter.
“He has struggled and fought for her throughout.
“This feels like Kirk’s home and I think it’s disgraceful the council would say he has to leave. It’s insensitive and I don’t want him to be under any stress.
“After all these years, I really don’t know what Claire would think of all of this.”
Broxtowe Borough Council is unable to comment on individual cases in the media.
When asked about this type of situation, a spokesperson said: “Whilst we always treat these matters as sensitively as possible, it is also important to ensure fairness in the allocation of properties and the most effective use of council stock to best meet the needs of local residents.
“Although we need to speak to the person remaining in the property as soon as possible as the tenancy has ended, we will agree a reasonable amount of time before we will begin to start the process of working with them to support them to move to other accommodation.
“We also have a team of Tenancy Sustainment Officers and Financial Inclusion Officers who can support tenants with new tenancies, as well as offering practical support for benefits applications and referrals to other agencies.”