Wenhaston man’s two-month wait for BT ‘lifeline’ repair

Derek Newby

Derek Newby - Credit: Archant

A deaf 88-year-old who suffers from heart disease and angina has been told that his 'lifeline' telephone and broadband service will not be restored for two months.

Derek Newby, of Wenhaston, near Halesworth, relies on his BT service for contact with friends and neighbours, but after losing the line completely on Thursday he has been informed the major fault will continue until May 8.

The problem has hit his neighbours but, to make matters worse for Mr Newby, the telegraph pole that serves the houses is in his driveway.

Mr Newby, a retired builder, has to place his hand on a nerve to help him hear, and with a poor mobile phone reception he is now relying on his relative Margaret Cunnell to help him contact anyone.

He said: 'It is my lifeblood. Really I am incommunicado without that. Instead of my number I give out my email address – that is how people link with me.'

As well as using his email to keep in contact with friends, Mr Newby has the phone line in cases of emergencies both for himself and neighbours.

Miss Cunnell and a neighbour have helped to contact BT, but after numerous phone calls the estimated time to fix the problem moved from Tuesday until May. One neighbour said their service had been off for two months, while another's went off last night having worked previously.

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Miss Cunnell, 61, said: 'If he has an angina attack and wants someone to get in contact with, he knows what to do, it is his lifeline.

'But we have not got that contact now. I feel when he is here I can't go too far because he can't contact anyone.'

After inquiries from the EDP yesterday morning two engineers visited Mr Newby but the line is still not working.

A spokesman for BT said that work needed to be done in the road to fix the fault and they were trying to bring the date 'much further forward'.

They added they had sent an engineer but had been unable to provide a temporary solution.