A step too far for gran and her scooter
PUBLISHED: 18:16 21 September 2009 | UPDATED: 10:25 11 August 2010
A DISABLED grandmother, who spent her life savings on a mobility scooter, has to lug it in and out of her home over the front step because the council will not install ramp access. Sheila Davey, 80, was advised by her doctor to buy the scooter three month
A DISABLED grandmother, who spent her life savings on a mobility scooter, has to lug it in and out of her home over the front step because the council will not install ramp access.
Sheila Davey, 80, was advised by her doctor to buy the scooter three months ago because her osteoarthritis was making it difficult to get around.
"I've always been independent," said Sheila, of Hatfield Road, Dagenham.
"I didn't want that to change. That's why I spent my life savings on the scooter, so I could get about on my own."
As well as suffering from osteoarthritis, frail Sheila has a host of other medical conditions.
She was partially paralysed by a stroke in 1980, fractured her spine in a fall in 2005 and is deaf in one ear.
But despite repeatedly asking the council for help installing a ramp so that she can bring her mobility scooter indoors at night, Sheila says nothing has been done.
She said: "That scooter is so heavy, I have to take it apart to bring it inside and then put it back together in the morning.
"The battery alone weighs about 20 kilos."
Sheila, who lives alone, paid £700 for the mobility scooter - money she had set aside for emergencies.
She has a Lifeline - a cord fitted in her home which summons the emergency services - and says it saved her life when she fell in her kitchen and fractured her spine four years ago.
"Had it not been for the Lifeline and my neighbour, I don't know what might have happened," said Sheila.
"The scooter was really a last resort for me. I had to get one in the end because walking was just too painful."
Sheila wants to retain her independence and believes that if the council installed a ramp at her house she could continue about her day without having to bother neighbours to help her.
A council spokesman said: "We have explained the criteria for a ramp installation and visited Mrs Davey at home.
"Unfortunately Mrs Davey does not meet the criteria for council funding of a ramp for her scooter. Ramps are only provided for people who cannot access their house in any other way.
"Mrs Davey is aware that if she wants to install a ramp privately herself she can do so by obtaining planning permission and funding the scheme herself. An alternative option would be to install a scooter shed in her garden.
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