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Disabled woman, 79, left without heating for five days

PUBLISHED: 08:23 03 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2018

Angel Semple, 79, who is disabled, has had no heating or hot water for a week, and is keeping the oven and dryer on to keep warm. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Angel Semple, 79, who is disabled, has had no heating or hot water for a week, and is keeping the oven and dryer on to keep warm. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

A disabled 79-year-old woman living in housing association accommodation was forced to heat her home with her oven and tumble dryer throughout the Beast from the East.

Angel Semple, 79, who is disabled, has had no heating or hot water for a week, and is keeping the oven and dryer on to keep warm. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAngel Semple, 79, who is disabled, has had no heating or hot water for a week, and is keeping the oven and dryer on to keep warm. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Angela Semple, of Rayns Close, Sprowston, also relied on the heat from her home’s lights to keep her warm overnight.

No housing association or contractor staff visited her home to fix the problem despite the freezing temperatures that dropped below -5C.

Mrs Semple said: “I had the oven on with the door partly open and the dryer on so I could get some heat near the boiler in case the pipes froze over.”

“I kept the lights on overnight in order to get some heat from them.”

Angel Semple, 79, who is disabled, has had no heating or hot water for a week, and is keeping the oven and dryer on to keep warm. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYAngel Semple, 79, who is disabled, has had no heating or hot water for a week, and is keeping the oven and dryer on to keep warm. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mrs Semple does not have a standard kettle for hot water nor does she own electric heaters or blankets, forcing her to rely on her appliances, dressing gown, and a woollen hat to keep warm.

After her boiler failed on Monday, February 26, she was told by the contractors, Swale Heating, that they would come out next Wednesday, March 7, which would have meant 10 days without heat.

It took a call from Mrs Semple’s daughter Sonia, who lives in Hertfordshire, for them to agree to an emergency call-out yesterday.

This follows housing association Clarion receiving dozens of complaints from tenants left without heat or hot water in recent months in Wisbech.

Mrs Semple said: “If my paper shop can deliver my papers each morning and people on my Close can get to work, I don’t understand why they can’t come to me. I was freezing.

“My helper said she would come but she can’t get here because she lives on a hill on Plumstead Road.

“I was not able to get out to the shop for some milk in case they came.”

A spokesperson for Clarion Housing Group said: “We are currently experiencing unprecedented demand for our services, but the safety of our residents is our primary concern so engineers are braving the bad weather to get to anyone experiencing problems with their heating and hot water as soon as possible.

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused to Mrs Semple and can confirm our heating contractor, Swale Heating, is currently at her property and will have her heating and hot water restored imminently.”

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