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‘Lack of light led pensioner to fall’

MCHG 12-997        Maria Cooper and husband Bruce where Maria injured her knee in Rumballs Close, Hemel Hempstead.  There were no lamposts in use at the time.

MCHG 12-997 Maria Cooper and husband Bruce where Maria injured her knee in Rumballs Close, Hemel Hempstead. There were no lamposts in use at the time.

The husband of a pensioner who suffered swelling and arthritis after falling in the dark has blasted roads bosses for turning off the one streetlight lighting their cul-de-sac.

Bruce Cooper, 72, and his wife Maria, 69, were about to get a 5am lift to Luton Airport to catch a flight to Corfu when she tumbled.

She fell off the kerb as the pair tried to get to their son’s car, which was parked outside of their Rumballs Road home in Bennetts End.

Bruce said: “I am 72 and have just got over a cancer operation and she’s nearly 70. It’s not right.”

Herts County Council has turned off non-essential streetlights between midnight and 6am to save cash and cut CO2 emissions.

But Bruce said: “They need to make savings on other things, not where someone’s safety is concerned – and I am not just talking me. I am talking thousands of people.”

Bruce and Maria still made it to Corfu – but halfway through their week-long holiday, Maria’s left leg swelled up and she had to take painkillers.

Since returning, she has been to see a doctor three times and believes the fall may have aggravated the rheumatoid arthritis in her legs. She had to have cortisone injections to stop the pain.

The swelling, which stretched from her foot to her knee, only died down last week – a month after her fall.

Bruce said: “I do not have a problem with them turning the streetlights off. We have all got to tighten our belts.”

But he said that they should not be turned off ‘willy-nilly’: “They are leaving areas of this town in pitch darkness.”

Herts County Council was unavailable to comment as the Gazette went to press, but Councillor Ian Reay said last week that it will be reviewing the policy next year.

 

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