10:32am Wednesday 3rd April 2013
By Tim MacFarlan
A TERMINALLY ill cancer patient was just one of the pensioners suffering without heat in a Bromley sheltered housing complex over the Easter weekend.
Cherry Clarke, 77, and around 40 other residents of Langtry House and next door Linden House in Ring Close, were forced to dig out the thermals after a gas leak has left them in the cold since March 28.
Residents claim they are still without hot water and the central heating is barely working while people have been forced to boil water in order to wash and huddle around electric fan heaters distributed by operators Riverside housing association.
But there are complaints the heaters provide little warmth for residents and cost a fortune in electricity to run.
Mrs Clarke suffers from lung cancer and says extra layers weren’t much help the final weekend of the fourth coldest March in England since records began.
She said: “I am an old lady and I’m so cold I don’t know what to do.
“We are just piling on the clothes but it doesn’t do much.
“Apart from the physical aspect of it I feel really unhappy.
“I am a senior citizen; I have paid my way and I am not a squatter.”
Linden House resident Trisha Gulliver is “furious” at the chill and says Langtry House tenants were left “so vulnerable it’s unbelievable.”
She said: “I would say to people organising things at Riverside that they couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery.”
Iris Gonsalves, 82, added: “It’s terrible and it seems they are treating us like the hospitals treat the old people.
“We have got a lady with rheumatoid arthritis and leukaemia who can’t even stand up straight and she’s feeling the cold.”
Donna Lee, Riverside’s area manager in Bromley, said: “We are sorry that our tenants have struggled over the weekend as a result of a gas leak and associated heating failure at Langtree House.
“National grid is currently working to fix the leak and we hope that heating will be back to normal by the end of today (April 2).
“As soon as we heard about the heating problem, we supplied electric heaters for every tenant.
“We have also made sure that there is a caretaker on site to keep an eye on everyone, especially our more vulnerable tenants.
“I visited all our residents today to talk to them about the best ways to keep warm during this difficult time.”
A spokeswoman for Riverside says everything is now working at Langtry House but residents' flats may take time to heat up.
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