Anger as BT cut off OAP

87-year-old pensioner Aileen Tootell and neighbour Patricia Lyons on Westmorland Street, Whelley
87-year-old pensioner Aileen Tootell and neighbour Patricia Lyons on Westmorland Street, Whelley

AN 87-year-old disabled pensioner was left helpless in her home for five days after BT cut off her phone line.

Aileen Tootell, of Westmoreland Street, has an emergency care alarm connected to her phoneline which inexplicably went dead on Friday, May 27.

The partially sighted pensioner was only able to alert neighbours on Saturday afternoon by banging on her front window at passers by.

Since then she has been regularly attended to by her caring next door neighbour Patrcia Lyons, who has been regularly phoning BT to try and get them to fix the problem, nut to no avail.

Aileen, who has relied on the service since February following the death of her son, frantically tried to alert her neighbours.

She said that it is only thanks to Patricia that she has had any care over the bank holiday weekend.

Aileen said: “It’s been a real struggle and I feared that if anything happened to me I’d be stuck here.

“I need the phone and more importantly the alarm in case I get stuck.

“I have a carer, but I can’t and don’t want to rely on him all the time and I want to be independent in my home. Till now it has been brilliant, but I worry that it could happen again and I cannot believe they have left me stranded for so long.

Kind hearted friends even bought her a mobile phone in the meantime, but due to her eyesight, using it has become difficult for Aileen.

Patricia, who has phoned BT every day to try and get the line up and running again, said she is disgusted.

She said: “I have phoned BT six times and each time the person I have spoke to said somebody would be coming out to fix it, but nobody has been.

“I’m outraged that they could leave such a vulnerable person without her only means of contact for so long.

“What if she had fallen over. Nobody would have found her for days.

“It’s a disgrace and could affect others.”

In response, a spokesperson for BT said: “I would like to apologise to Mrs Tootell for any inconvenience and distress caused.

“The line is now back up and running and we are making further enquiries into what went wrong.”