A MAN who suffered years of abuse in a Hornchurch care home has successfully backed a campaign to stop builders naming a new development after the care home.
Paul Connolly, 49, from Billericay, was abandoned as a two-week-old baby and suffered years of physical and mental abuse as a child at St Leonard’s Home for Children in Hornchurch and told his story in the best selling book ‘Against All Odds’.
Developers Bellway Homes were planning to name their most recent development off Torrance Close in Hornchurch, ‘St Leonard’s’.
The new development is on the former site of Elmhurst Lodge residential home next door to the old care home site and close to St Leonard’s hamlet.
As part of the campaign Paul told the Enquirer: “I think it is outrageous, it is an insult as so many of the children who lived there have since committed suicide. I’ve had emails from concerned residents and some of the people there are up in arms over the name because of the abuse that went on there.”
Outraged residents got in touch with Paul hoping he could persuade the developers to change their mind.
Concerned resident, Lorraine Moss, 44, from Romford said: “I always thought St Leonard’s hamlet was such a posh place I never realised about its history until I read Paul’s book.”
Lorraine added: “We in Havering shouldn’t turn our backs on what happened but we need to acknowledge what those children went through. It is inappropriate to carry on using the name, it really can’t go ahead.”
Public Affairs Manager for Bellway Homes, Julian Kenyon, said: “We’ve only recently been made aware of the history of St Leonard’s and we didn’t know about it.Now we are aware, I can confirm we will be renaming the development.”
Hacton ward Cllr Barbara Matthews said: “What good news! I never believed the company were doing it to be crass, they genuinely didn’t know. It is absolutely wonderful.”
On hearing the news Paul said: “Excellent news! A lot of the local residents will be very happy about that. I’m really pleased.”