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Woman sitting in her kitchen

When Ethel's heating broke down, she was facing a long wait until it was fixed. Luckily, Age UK were there to spread some warmth.

*Ethel Livingstone, 82, lives in South Yorkshire

'A couple of winters ago, my central heating broke down and I started to get very cold.

I can't get around very well any more, and can't make it upstairs, so I only live on the ground floor of my house. 

Fortunately, I was able to call my cousin, Audrey – who lives about 150 miles away – and she arranged for an engineer to come and fix the heating. 

The problem was that there were so many people whose heating had gone up the spout that they couldn't guarantee that they'd get to see me very quickly. That was when Audrey called Age UK.'

'I feel so much safer at home now'

'They were marvellous. I had an electric bar heater, but was a bit frightened of using it because I fell over once in front of it. Fortunately, it wasn't actually on, but that scared the living daylights out of me.

Well, Age UK swapped my heater over for a much safer one and they set it up in the living room to keep it warm.

The engineer turned up about a week later to fix my heating, thank goodness. Fortunately, Age UK allowed me to keep the heater they gave me, because I didn't want to get in a bind again.

Age UK also persuaded me to get something called a falls prevention check, which has helped with my balance and hopefully I won't tumble over and cause myself a mischief.

That and getting a home fire safety check from the Fire Service means I feel so much safer at home now – I can take whatever the British winter throws at me now!'

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*Picture posed by model

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