Burnley pensioners feel like prisoners in their own homes

FEARS: Cyril Darwin (83) and Jean Davenport (76) say they have been left trapped in their own homes.
FEARS: Cyril Darwin (83) and Jean Davenport (76) say they have been left trapped in their own homes.

TWO pensioners claim a broken lift at a Burnley sheltered housing complex has left them trapped in their own homes.

Jean Davenport (76) and neighbour Cyril Darwin (83) say the lift has been out of service for a month at Gatefield Court.

Now the friends, who are too ill to use the stairs, say they are stranded in their top floor flats after the chairlift also stopped working.

Jean and Cyril fear they would struggle to escape in an emergency and have raised their concerns with Anchor Homes who run the site.

Former nurse Jean, who has lived in Gatefield Court for 10 years, said: “The lift has been broken for four weeks. We have told them and told them about it. They are supposed to have repaired it.

“We are stuck up here in our homes. It has been hell.”

Former soldier Cyril, who has asthma, emphysema and arthritis, said: “A stairlift had been put in as the lift was broken but now that is not working. We have to walk down the stairs ourselves. It is very dangerous.”

He added: “If there was a fire we would be stuck. There would be no escape route. It is frightening.”

Jean, who has just come out of hospital following a heart operation, hopes the lift can be fixed quickly so the pair can regain their freedom.

Debra Whitaker, district manager for Gatefield Court, said: “We would like to apologise to our customers for the time it is taking to bring the lift back in to service.

“Our contractors are working to repair it as quickly as possible and we are awaiting a replacement part. Customers have been kept informed.

“In the meantime, we have installed a stairlift as an alternative. To operate effectively this needs to recharge its batteries from time to time and our engineers will be checking this is happening correctly.

“My colleagues at the scheme are supporting customers and carrying items up and down stairs for them if they need help.”