A SOUTH Tyneside baptist minister nearly missed a funeral after getting trapped in a lift in the tower block where he lives.
The Reverend Reuben Horsley, 71, got stuck with his wife Dorothy, 70, while on their way to the crematorium.
The pair live on the fifth floor of the Amalfi Tower block in Sunderland’s Lakeside Village, and they got into difficulties after the outer door failed to open when the lift reached the ground floor.
After pressing the lift’s emergency alarm, the Rev Horsley, a minister at Simonside Baptist Mission Church in South Shields, and his wife had to wait 20 minutes to be released.
He said: “I was on my way to conduct a service at the crematorium.
“I got there in time, but it was touch and go.
“Luckily, I got there just before the hearse pulled up. I try to get to a funeral half an hour beforehand, so I have time to read through my notes and be calm and collected.
“I don’t want to be in a rush when people are upset.”
The Rev Horsley has now started a petition urging housing firm Gentoo to repair the lift, which he says has been intermittently out of order for months and has been cordoned off altogether for at least a fortnight.
“We have two lifts,” he said. “There are 97 flats in the tower, and one of them is now doing the work of two.
“When it operates, the noise it makes is awful – the grating of the doors, metal against metal.
“I’m not a frightened man, but it’s very claustrophobic when you are stuck in there for 20 minutes.”