COLCHESTER Council has been accused of lacking sympathy after it threatened to evict a grieving family from their home of 20 years.

Hannah Packman's mum Anne died unexpectedly last weekend, aged 51.

Anne had been the sole tenant of a house in Monkwick Avenue, Colchester, which she shared with husband Paul and children Hannah and Chris.

Hannah, 22, said the family faces eviction within four weeks.

She said: "Mum rented a council property and as she was the sole tenant, the council have told us we need to fill out a termination form and look to move.

"Obviously we don't want this considering mum and dad got the house in 1997 and it has been the family home for mine and my brother's entire lives and we have so many happy memories there.

"It would keep us close to mum and would be very comforting. "

Hannah described her mum, a former care worker, as willing to do anything for her children.

The family is waiting to hear from the coroner about her cause of death.

Berechurch councillor Dave Harris (Lab) is supporting the family to try to help them stay in the home and has advised them not to fill in the termination form.

Hannah said: "He's been a massive help not only with the house, but emotionally.

"He's looked into the legal bits and has advised that because mum got the house in 1997 or1998 way before the coalition and the laws changed in 2012, we have every right to succeed the house and put it in one of our names.

"The last thing we want is to be split up from dad at this time and obviously me only being 22 and my brother 20, with no savings or money left by mum, we aren't in a position to run a home on our own."

Hannah said since Tuesday the family had managed to clear all of Anne's debts, bills and arrears she had on the house.

She added: "We haven't only done this for mum but also to help towards the fight to keep the house. The council haven't very been supportive and the worry of me and Chris being homeless isn't what any of us at this awful time.

"I know there are long waiting lists for homes but given the circumstances and me and my brother are still young."

The family is due to meet with a council housing officer on Thursday to discuss the situation.

A spokesman for Colchester Borough Homes, which is the council's property manager, said: “We were first informed of Mrs Packman’s passing on March 13 and naturally wish to convey our sincere condolences to her family.

“We will of course examine the family’s application to succeed to the tenancy and aim to progress their request without delay, in order to minimise any additional distress.

“Whatever the outcome, the family can be reassured that we will work to provide all the necessary support and advice they need in a sensitive way, at this difficult time.”

n FAMILY friends Annette and Danielle Kelly, a mum and daughter, are trying to fundraise £500 to put towards Anne's funeral costs.

They have set up a web page for donations.

Hannah added: "Both myself, my dad, brother and my fiancé and the rest of the family are so grateful for everyone who has donated so far, but the cost of the funeral will be around £3,000 to £4,000 and we want to give mum the best send off which she deserves."

You can donate by searching Anne Mort on Justgiving's website.