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Monthly News Bulletin

Back to 2004 News Archive

Pensioners' "Prison"

A STRANRAER pensioner is a virtual prisoner in her tiny first-floor living room. And it will cost her £1700 to get her freedom. For that, or £18.50 a week, is the price quoted by Dumfries and Galloway Council for a stairlift. And she can afford neither.

The pensioner, who wants her identity to remain a secret, lives with her disabled husband in their small first-floor flat in the Dick's Hill area of the town.

Seven years ago she had half of a lung removed because of a tumour. Since then, and in increasing ill-health she has found it more and more difficult to climb the 15 or so stairs from her front door to the rest of her home.

Now she hardly gets out at all. Most of her time is spent in a room measuring about 15 feet by 12 feet.

"I dread getting out of the taxi and trying to get up the stairs", she told the Free Press this week.

"I hate it".

Her situation got so bad that, with the help of her doctor, she applied to the council for a stairlift.

Two women officials from Castle Douglas visited her and workmen were sent to measure the stairs.

"One of them told me I would get my chair within a month", she recalled.

However the bubble soon burst. One of the officials phoned to say she would have to pay £1700 or £18.50 a week before the equipment was installed.

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