Former Norwich MP praises community spirit of Elm Hill, after falling at his home

Dr Tom Stuttaford, a patient at the N&N last week. Photo: Bill Smith

Dr Tom Stuttaford, a patient at the N&N last week. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2013

A former city MP and his wife have praised the 'community spirit' of neighbours in historic Elm Hill for rallying round to help them after he fell at their home.

Dr Tom Stuttaford pictured in 2004. Photo: Colin Finch

Dr Tom Stuttaford pictured in 2004. Photo: Colin Finch - Credit: Archant © 2004

Dr Tom Stuttaford, 81, right, was left lying unconscious for several minutes after falling down some steps inside their home in Elm Hill, and hitting his head.

The former MP for Norwich South from 1970 to 1974 lost a lot of blood from a head wound following the fall which happened at about 9.30am last Monday.

His wife Pam, who has also been in poor health, and their helper, were the only other people in the house at the time.

Yesterday, his wife, who feared Dr Stuttaford could have died following the fall, said: 'I was upstairs and I heard an awful crash. We phoned the emergency services and Tom was taken in an ambulance to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. As he was being driven away, he gave a thumbs-up sign to some of our neighbours who were concerned about him.

'Everyone has rallied round to help us. Some neighbours brought pyjamas that Tom might need in hospital. Others brought other clothes. It was very good to see the community spirit alive in the city.'

Mr Stuttaford, who was known to millions of readers as The Times medical correspondent and later its medical columnist, said: 'I cannot speak too highly of the people of Elm Hill who helped me last week. It was like a village community within the city. Elm Hill has got that community spirit.

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'My wife has been quite ill and the neighbours have all kept in constant touch with her, and sent messages of support.'

Mr Stuttaford, who was left with a cut to his head and several glue stitches, also thanked the staff at the hospital.

He said: 'You hear unfortunate stories about older people's wards, but I was in one, and the nurses and staff were angelic towards the patients. They were kindliness and consideration personified.'

When he had arrived at the hospital's accident and emergency department, he said he was met by two kind sisters, who also came to see him the next day.

He said: 'As I was leaving the two sisters came to make sure that I was fit to go home, or if I should not stay for another night.'

Dr Stuttaford was elected MP for Norwich South in 1970, after 11 years in general practice in Norfolk, and he was later made an OBE.

As reported last year, Dr Stuttaford and other people in Elm Hill were able to convince members of the city council's planning committee not to allow a change of use for a property in the street.

An applicant had asked to change the use for the building from a shop on all floors to a bakery/cafe on the ground floor, a shop on the first floor and offices on the second floor.

But a 27-signature petition was collected against the proposal, as people from the historic street said they feared such a shop would create noise and detract from its character.