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‘She was so cold, she had no heating, she hadn’t slept’ - Elderly woman left without heating for almost three weeks

PUBLISHED: 13:17 10 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:05 10 November 2017

Connie Skipper, 84, wrapped in blankets by an electric heater to keep warm after her boiler broke down. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Connie Skipper, 84, wrapped in blankets by an electric heater to keep warm after her boiler broke down. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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An elderly woman was left without heating for nearly three weeks due to multiple failings by a contractor to repair her boiler.

The letter received by Connie Skipper, stating Morgan Sindall will deal with any emergency within 24 hours. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe letter received by Connie Skipper, stating Morgan Sindall will deal with any emergency within 24 hours. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Connie Skipper, 84, of Great Witchingham, first noticed the boiler had stopped working on October 22. She reported it to Morgan Sindall, the contractor for her housing association, and was told an engineer would be there the following day but no-one arrived.

When she called to complain she was told to expect them Tuesday but again, they did not show up. It was the same story on Wednesday.

“I phoned my mother Thursday,” said Mrs Skipper’s daughter Anita Firman. “She burst into tears, telling me she was so cold, she had no heating and she hadn’t slept.”

Mrs Firman rang Morgan Sindall to complain and another engineer was sent and appeared to fix the problem.

“She went to turn it on after it had switched off but it wasn’t working again,” said Mrs Firman. “I phoned Morgan Sindall’s out-of-hours line and another engineer arrived. He changed the pipe but said the problem was the joint and he’d have to see if they had any in stock.”

More than a week passed before another engineer was sent and during that time overnight temperatures in Norfolk plunged to as low as three degrees.

Mrs Skipper kept herself warm with electric heaters and an electric blanket given to her by the company.

Mrs Firman added: “This has meant paying for extra electric use and somebody should compensate my mother for that.”

An engineer came on November 6 and the problem was solved, but a few hours later it stopped working again. Two days later the boiler was temporarily repaired again but a permanent fix has not been found.

Morgan Sindall recently took over the contract for all homes under the Circile Housing association in the East region.

Managing director Alan Hayward said: “We review our policies and procedures on a regular basis and welcome feedback to ensure that issues are responded to and rectified swiftly for both servicing and repairs.

“On this occasion we sincerely apologise for the delay in repairing Mrs Skipper’s boiler, but can confirm the matter has now been fully resolved and we will continue to collaborate with our teams to ensure disruptions to our clients are kept to a minimum.”

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