Elderly Swindon couple would rather be homeless than give up their cat

By Barrie Hudson - 8 December 2022

Community
  • Dave and June Pegler

    Dave and June Pegler

A couple from Swindon have spoken of their anguish at being unable to find accommodation when they give up their home for health reasons.

  • Rescue cat Crumpet

    Rescue cat Crumpet

June and Dave Pegram, both 75, have lived in their upstairs former council maisonette for more than 30 years, but are having to sell up because Mr Pegram's asthma and digestive ailments make the stairs progressively more difficult.
They are selling their property and must move by the end of the year, but have been unable to secure a new home which will also accommodate their rescue cat, Crumpet.
The couple have tried various options, and say they were led to believe during a property inspection by a Swindon Borough Council official that the council's sheltered housing facilities accepted pets - only to be told later that they did not.
The council has been approached for comment.
Mr Pegram, a retired warehouse worker who served with the RAF for 12 years, said: "We're mortified, to be honest - devastated.
"I got diagnosed with asthma some little while ago and I'm just getting over a gall bladder operation. There's also talk about having a hiatus hernia operation.
"We need a home that's more accessible. We don't mind a first floor flat because if there is a lift we can cope."
Mrs Pegram is a retired accounts worker. The couple have no children but have had cats throughout their 53 years of marriage.
Because of the nature of the mortgage they selected before buying their current home, they do not have sufficient funds to purchase a new one. 
Mrs Pegram said: "A private rental property would be way out of our league. Talking to our estate agency, they said that unless you're on at least £32,000 a year the landlords won't contemplate it - and that's if they'll rent to you anyway."
However, whatever happens, the couple have vowed never to be parted from their cat, which came from a rescue charity just over three years ago.
Mr Pegram said: "To me it's as though you need to sit outside on a staircase."
Mrs Pegram added: "There's one thing we're not going to do, and that's let Crumpet go."

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