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Woman lives in fear as phone Lifeline still down after weeks

Land line damage ‘regrettable’ according to BT

86-year-old Vera Neal, of Herne Common, says her life could be in danger because her landilne telephone still has not been repaired after a car crash took down a telephone pole cutting the line in Herne Common
86-year-old Vera Neal, of Herne Common, says her life could be in danger because her landilne telephone still has not been repaired after a car crash took down a telephone pole cutting the line in Herne Common

A pensioner who has suffered two heart attacks says her life could be in danger because her telephone line has not been repaired since it was cut during a car crash two weeks ago. Vera Neal, 86, has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which affects her heart and lungs, and keeps a defibrillator with her at home. She uses a Lifeline device in her house in Herne Common to send an emergency message to her doctor if she needs an ambulance. But on January 22, a red Ford Fiesta collided with a telegraph pole on the A291 Canterbury Road, leaving telephone lines in need of repair by BT.

Anxiety

She said:

“It’s not as if they don’t know about it. They’re not helping me at all. It’s giving me a lot of anxiety I can tell you. I have had two heart attacks already and I’m worhed because I need the telephone. I’m on my own at the weekends, so if I’m taken ill I haven’t got anyone to call an ambulance for me, which is why I have Lifeline. You can’t get a mobile signal out here, so if the laridline telephone is down and I press the button on the lifeline, nothing happens. I could have another heart attack. I know I’m old, but I don’t want something like this to kill me off before my time.”

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Mrs Neal added she suffered a similar problem with the anxiety of waiting while her phone line was repaired for five weeks before Christmas in 2013. BT spokesman Emma Pennant said it is “regrettable” when accidents cause damage to telephone lines. She said:

“Every effort is being made to complete the works as quickly as possible. Engineers hope to complete the work by the close of play tomorrow. Following the crash, engineers from BT Openreach, who install and maintain the network on behalf of all communications companies, need to replace a section of overhead cable and reset the damaged pole. They had hoped to have completed the work by now, but it’s going to be complex. Due to the location, three-way temporary traffic lights are needed in order for engineers to work safely and with minimum disruption to residents and motorists.”

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She advised the four residents living in New Road Cottages to contact their providers to arrange for incoming calls to be diverted.

Herne Bay Gazette, February 5th 2015

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