PROTESTERS formed a 'circle of tears' around a care home to express their “disgust and disbelief” at its impending closure.

Residents of Newton House in Stanhope, County Durham, were joined by friends, relatives and the wider Weardale community for the peaceful protest today (May 18).

Waving protest banners, the demonstration was in response to a decision by Durham County Council’s cabinet to close the home and four others.

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Michelle Robson, whose father-in-law, Donald, 83, is a resident, said: “Last November, we formed a circle of love and protection and now we are forming a circle of love and tears to express our disgust and disbelief that Durham County Council has gone ahead with this.

“This is the only care home we have in the dale. They are not only taking away jobs, they are taking away people’s home and moving them miles away from their families and the community they love.”

It costs an extra £22,000 a year per resident to keep people in council-run homes as opposed to the authority paying for them to be placed in independent homes.

Cabinet also voted to close Cheveley House in Belmont, Feryemount in Ferryhill, Grampian House in Peterlee and Mendip House in Chester-le-Street and Newtown House in Stanhope when it met in Crook last month.

Deputy leader Councillor Alan Napier said cuts imposed by the Government were to blame, with funding for services heavily reduced.