Charles Moore was a pompous retired transport police officer and a resident of the Stillwaters retirement home where for a long period of time he was the residents’ chairman, using the position to illegally line his own pockets.
Ken Barlow and Claudia Colby made the decision to move into the upmarket home in February 2020. On their arrival, Charles introduced himself to them when he overheard Ken admiring the book choices on offer in the residents’ lounge. Some time later, Ken was interested in attending a meeting of the literary society when Charles’s wife, Felicity, informed him that the usual organiser had been taken into hospital. Upon which, Claudia stepped forward and offered Ken’s services, bigging him up as an author who would do a presentation for them. To Ken’s surprise, none other than Norris Cole, stood up when it came to questions and answers, revealing himself as another of the home’s residents and proceeded to try and put Ken on the spot regarding the number of works that he’d actually had published. Charles and the other members of the audience stood up for Ken, and Norris’s mischievous attempt at humiliating him came to an end.
When pleasantries had been exchanged after the talk, Norris confided in Ken that he hated the place, saying it was akin to living in a cult which Charles ruled with a rod of iron, leading any person who dissented against him into creating social suicide for themself. He alleged that the staff were on poor wages and that Charles was ripping the other residents off, something that Ken instinctively disbelieved, putting it down to Norris’s usual cynical, complaining attitude.
A short time later, on a visit back to the street, Ken found out that no one would be at home to walk Eccles that night and, against the strict policy of Stillwaters, smuggled the dog in under Charles’s nose. The next day, the man found a damp patch of the hall carpet and soon realised what had caused it, listening at the door of Ken’s apartment to the sounds of the dog within. He issued Ken with an officious letter about breaking the code of conduct, a fine of £200 for the cost of having to hire a professional carpet cleaner, and began to haughtily address Ken as “Barlow” instead of using his first name. It was when Ken found the home’s normal house cleaner rubbing away at the carpet that he began to suspect that Norris’s allegations might have more than a ring of truth about them.
Questioning Norris further, he discovered that any fines issued to residents went into a general maintenance fund, despite the fact that service charges were also issued which were being increased all the time. In addition, although fines were issued for infringement of “the rules”, no one seemed to be aware exactly what those rules were.
Taking up the cudgels, Ken, Norris and Claudia approached Charles about the rulebook and were told that they were awaiting the delivery of a new edition and all of the old ones had been thrown away as they were out of date. As it had been seven years since Charles had been elected, Ken proposed that another took place and although Charles wasn’t keen, he had no option but to go along with the suggestion.
Campaigning began with Charles issuing printed leaflets with his own image prominent but at that stage he had no opposition. Norris badgered a reluctant Ken into standing against him, saying that he was the only one who stood any chance. Ken was distracted and saddened at the time by the sudden death of Eccles and he was only galvanised into action when Norris passed on the gossip that Charles had said he wouldn’t be shedding any tears over the death of an incontinent animal. With fury in his soul, Ken declared his candidacy and he and Claudia began a charm offensive towards the other compliant residents. Charles spotted that they were organising a drinks party and swiftly got together an alternative event which Ken gatecrashed and announced he was standing against the incumbent, to total silence from the residents.
Things took a strange turn when the wily Norris claimed to Charles that Ken could beat him in a fencing contest. His hackles already raised, Ken went along with the challenge and was easily beaten, discovering that in the 1970s his opponent had been a national champion. However, Ken found out that Norris was using the contest as a simple distraction to enable him to get access to Charles’s sports bag in which he found a copy of the much sought-after rule book. Reading through it, they discovered that there were no additional fees and charges as they were all included in the standard service charge.
Ken further discovered out that there was no residents’ charges bank account and, using a contact at a bank, the sums that Charles was levying were actually being paid into his own personal account. Deciding to move swiftly, Ken addressed the other residents, promising to be fully transparent on future income and expenditure and to redistribute the money that was supposedly in the fictional account. Charles squirmed as Ken asked him for a similar commitment and then explained to the shocked residents the fraud that had been committed against them for several years. Charles fled the room, and Ken easily won the election, but surrendered his position to Norris as he had reached the conclusion that Stillwaters wasn’t for him and he was returning to his old life at 1 Coronation Street.
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