Bereaved daughter of Stevenage community hero faces eviction from her late mother’s house

Gemma Sheldrick

Gemma Sheldrick - Credit: Archant

The bereaved daughter of a Stevenage community champion who died from cancer is facing eviction from the house she had shared with her for two decades.

Sarah Sheldrick with Dog Watch recruit Lawful Larry.

Sarah Sheldrick with Dog Watch recruit Lawful Larry. - Credit: Archant

Gemma Sheldrick received a letter from Stevenage Borough Council in September after her mother Sarah died from breast cancer stating that she will have to leave the two-bed house in Bronte Paths if she could not prove she was living there.

The business support co-ordinator had briefly moved into a flat with her then-boyfriend earlier this year but returned to her mother’s house in April to care for her.

Sarah, who helped set up a police Dog Watch initiative in Stevenage and was awarded an British Empire Medal in January for services to the community, died in July at the age of 46.

Daughter Gemma, 24, said: “A few weeks after my mum died the council sent me a letter asking me to prove that I lived there. At the time I had no bills in my name because everything was registered to my flat. I was given an appeal date where I would be given a chance to set the record straight but this was then cancelled because the council said I didn’t have sufficient evidence.

“I do not understand why they’ve cancelled it when nothing has changed. I feel really disappointed and let down. On the one had they have rewarded my mother for everything she had done with the community but I feel like that they are not very supportive in this situation and it is a constant fight.

“I want to carry on living here because I have spent most of my life in this house with my mother and it would be a great shame to leave.”

Most Read

In a statement, the council said to take over a tenancy it asks for evidence showing that someone has lived at the house for 12 consecutive months before the date of death. As Gemma has not been able to provide this, she’s been advised to contact the housing advice team.