THIS WEEK IN 1973: Portsmouth’s own fairy godmother

Mary Deck, 54, a proud gomother to Portsmouth's 'dossers'
Mary Deck, 54, a proud gomother to Portsmouth's 'dossers'
Jo and Rhys Williams competing in a nighttime navigational competition in East Hampshire

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In the previous 50 years she had had more homes than she could remember, and more ‘family’ than most mothers would dream of.

Her family were the city’s down-and-outs. The ‘dossers’. And occasionally – in ever-increasing numbers – those simply without a home.

She was guided by half-debt, half-conviction. A debt to her mother, who started the first of the nationally known Deck lodging houses more than 50 years previously, that she would take care of those less fortunate than herself.

And a conviction, founded on solid gold philosophy, that she was the only one left who could help them.