With great regret

It is with great regret that I have to tell you all that Karen Burrell our TANT colleague and National Trust long lease tenant passed peacefully away in Exeter Hospice on Saturday night, the 31st August with Richard her husband at her side.

Karen joined TANT to further the campaign for the rights of National Trust long leaseholders who were facing the prospect of severe financial harm as a result of the National Trust’s intentions to apply a punitive ground review called the modern ground rent. This legally entitled the Trust to review the pepper corn ground rents of its long-leased properties and increase these ground rents to figures that lay little short of standard domestic rents. Both Karen and I were long lease holders and worked together as TANT Long Lease specialists. As a result of Karen’s patience, compassion, attention to detail and selflessness, TANT managed to persuade the Trust not only to with draw its intentions to apply the MGR, but also to recognise that its long lease tenants should have a right to lease extensions as current legislation permits for other long lease tenants outside of the National Trust.

Karen’s warmth, enthusiasm and legendary people skills paved the way for TANT and the National Trust to put aside their differences and to take advantage of the government’s instructions to the Law Commission to reform current leasehold law. Working closely together to find a common solution TANT and the National Trust agreed upon a joint proposal for a 999yr lease extension. This has been presented to the Law Commission. It is hoped that this proposal will be taken up by the Commission and presented to parliament along with all of its other recommendations for leasehold reform to current legislation.

Throughout the 5yr campaign Karen had been diagnosed and successfully treated for cancer, and been given the all clear. Tragically the cancer came back and the prognosis was not good as she was told that all further treatment would be palliative. I was informed about this only three weeks ago by Karen herself. During this meeting Karen made it abundantly clear to me that she wanted to continue to serve TANT and long lease tenants for as long as she could. Sadly, this was when she thought she had months rather than weeks left to live. During the last time that I saw her she asked me of one simple thing, which was for me to safeguard her legacy. Only days later Richard her husband informed me that she had passed on.  The speed of her passing has shocked us all, but Karen had a strong Christian faith and was not afraid of the next journey that she would take, but did tell me that the act of passing may be difficult and painful. Thankfully God smiled down on her and let her go gently and pain free in a hospice with Richard by her side.

Karen was a brave, courageous, astute and pragmatic women who gave hours and hours of her time freely and willingly for all National Trust Long lease tenants. We all owe her so much for her unwavering determination and it is thanks to her efforts that hopefully National Trust long lease tenants’ homes will be secured as homes as they originally thought they were to be when first purchased. When these tenants go out into their gardens and tend to them free of the worry of whether there was any point in doing so, I would like to think that they will be reminded of Karen and perhaps plant a plant in her memory and in honour of her selfless gift to them.

Richard her husband has informed me that her funeral is planned for the 13 September at 14:30 at East Devon Crematorium. There will be a gathering with tea & cake (very Karen) at Broadclyst Victory Hall from 4pm.  If you are able to come you will be most welcome. No flowers please, donations if desired for Hospiscare by retiring collection or send to LeRoy Funerals 298 Topsham Road Exeter EX2 6HG https://tribute-fund.everydayhero.com/uk/karen-burrell

Mike Dennys, TANT Long Lease Specialist