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Back in the warm after months of misery

PUBLISHED: 15:50 20 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:36 11 August 2010

George Keegan with his repaired boiler

George Keegan with his repaired boiler

A HARD-up pensioner who faced the coldest winter in over a decade without hot water or central heating has fixed the problem without government help. In January, the POST revealed that George Keegan, 84, of Suffolk Road, Dagenham, could not afford a new b

A HARD-up pensioner who faced the coldest winter in over a decade without hot water or central heating has fixed the problem without government help.

In January, the POST revealed that George Keegan, 84, of Suffolk Road, Dagenham, could not afford a new boiler system after his heating broke down in September last year.

Warmfront, a government scheme which helps vulnerable homeowners with the cost of heating, offered Mr Keegan a grant of £2,700 towards boiler replacement costs of £3,717.

Mr Keegan could not afford to pay the remaining £1,000 to the government contractors and has since been braving freezing temperatures with only an electric blanket.

British Gas has now repaired the boiler for a sixth of what government contractors asked for.

Mr Keegan's daughter, Lynne Conway, 53, of Harold Wood, Romford, said: "My father is absolutely delighted. It's such a relief."

Mrs Conway spent months on the phone to Warmfront and the council to try and solve the problem until she contacted her father's gas supplier.

She said: "British Gas just repaired the actual copper cylinder. That was all that needed doing.

"It will cost about £600.

She added: "My father feels so much better now. He said he was so glad to get up and be able to wash himself and get things done.

"It was such a shame we had to go through all this.

"I would say to people to rather get another quote from somebody else.

The government has helped 635,000 households and pumped £852 million into the scheme since June 2005 but many poor households are still missing out or have to wait months for repairs and installations.

According to a report from the National Audit Office in February, over 20,000 people who contacted Warmfront did not proceed with the work because they could not afford to top-up costs.

A council spokesperson said: "The council has been working closely with Mr Keegan's daughter and all other parties to reach a satisfactory conclusion to this matter.

"We are pleased it has now been resolved.


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