Widowed pensioner in Redcar goes cold for more than a month until Fire Brigade bring blankets (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Widowed pensioner in Redcar goes cold for more than a month until Fire Brigade bring blankets
A 71-YEAR-OLD widow with diabetes and mobility problems says she has been living without heat for a month.
The Fire Brigade had to call round with blankets to help former nurse Jan Milne, of Redcar, to keep warm after her boiler broke.
However, British Gas, which is the lead organisation in the Warm Up North energy efficiency scheme which operates in the town, has promised to fix it.
Mrs Milne, who lives at Dormanstown near Redcar and who says she is partially sighted, said at one point she fell over a duvet she had brought downstairs and had treatment for her leg.
She said: “I’ve been wearing duffle coats and a blanket. At one point British Gas said, it’ll cost you £500 to have the boiler fixed and I said, ‘well, I haven’t got 500 pence’.
"They said I had to get a letter proving I’m on the right benefits before I could get the boiler fixed and that’s taken weeks to sort out from the Department of Work and Pensions.”
A spokeswoman for the Department of Work and Pensions confirmed that the department does supply letters, but added that other ways of providing proof, including bank statements, were available.
Katie Alloway of British Gas said: “I am very sorry that there has been a delay with Mrs Milne's application for a new boiler from Warm Up North.
"When Mrs Milne initially contacted us she was unable to produce the relevant documents for her application which we are obliged to review. As soon as these were available, we visited her home and immediately booked an installation for early next week.”
Paul Colling, watch manager at Redcar Fire Station, confirmed colleagues had gone round with blankets. He said: “It’s all part of our duty to the public.”
Mrs Milne, who has no children, was widowed in March.
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