Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ann's Lodge Was a Dream Come True; Tributes Paid as MS Champion Dies

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ann's Lodge Was a Dream Come True; Tributes Paid as MS Champion Dies

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVE ROBSON

AN INSPIRATIONAL woman who fulfilled a dream to build Britain's first residential home for people with multiple sclerosis has died aged 66.

When Ann Charlton was diagnosed with MS in the early 1980s, she vowed not to let it beat her, and to bring respite to other people who had it.

Within years, she had galvanised amazing support across Teesside for an MS centre.

The result, the pounds 1.5m Ann Charlton Lodge on Edenhall Grove, Redcar, is still going strong today, 18 years after opening.

With 25 cosy single rooms and 51 staff, the lodge lies just a stone's throw from the house she shared with husband of 48 years, John.

And today, John and daughter Mandy paid tribute to the woman whose "mad idea" all those years ago went on to transform the lives of people with MS and other central nervous system disorders.

Retired electrician John, 73, said: "The lodge meant everything to her - it was her dream and it came true.

"She used to go in for care herself and see young people with MS going into geriatric wards. They were being treated as old people and she didn't think it was right."

And Mandy said her mum's positivity shone through, even after her MS diagnosis.

"Mum found there were people out there with MS who had nowhere to live, nowhere to go for respite and families that couldn't cope. She felt she had to do something.

"Mum was a very positive, strong person. She was determined MS wouldn't beat her, and she was determined to get that lodge built."

Ann managed to cope with her MS for many years until she broke her hip four years ago and her health deteriorated.

Mandy explained: "MS doesn't kill you but the complications can. Mum's official cause of death was pneumonia."

Morecambe-born Ann moved to Teesside when she was 13 and married John four years later after meeting him as he walked her home from a night out at Marske's Top House. …

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