A PENSIONER has blasted the condition of pavements in South Tyneside as “lethal” after he tripped and banged his head.
Gordon Donnison suffered cuts to his forehead and nose as well as bruising beneath his eyes after the fall in Prince Edward Road, South Shields.
The 76-year-old was helped to his feet by a passer-by and needed hospital treatment.
Mr Donnison, of Fremantle Road, South Shields, was with his partner, Helga Knight, 78, when he fell at 7.45am on Thursday, and has now hit out at council bosses for allowing pavements in the borough to become “atrocious”.
He said: “I was out for an early morning walk with Helga, and all of a sudden, I tripped. My cap went flying and my face went down towards the ground. It happened so quickly I didn’t have time to put my arms out to save me.”
He added: “There are too many raised paving slabs and uneven pavements in South Shields, and they need to be levelled. It is atrocious and potentially lethal.”
Mr Donnison, who worked as a stoneman at the former Boldon Colliery for more than 20 years, says he is slowly recovering from the fall.
He initially went to South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields for treatment, and has since visited his GP for a check-up.
The father-of-one added: “We go out every morning for a walk, and I am always aware of the pavements, but I always try to be careful.
“But if a paving slab is raised by about half-an-inch, it’s easy to catch your foot and you can end up having a nasty fall.
“I’ve thought a lot about what happened, and I just want to make sure that the council is aware of how bad some of the pavements are, and urge other pedestrians to take extra care.
“Thankfully, I didn’t break my nose. It could have been a lot worse. The cuts will eventually heal up, but my shoulders and arms are aching.”
A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “We sympathise with Mr Donnison and wish him a speedy recovery.
“We are committed to the maintenance of our footpaths and have allocated an extra £2m to footpath maintenance in this year’s budget.
“We carry out regular checks on the condition of pavements to identify any problem areas. To ensure we spend our budget as efficiently as we can, work is prioritised on a worst-first basis.
“We also respond to any reports of footpath problems that we receive and will be carrying out an inspection in this area.”