Elderly South Shields man speaks of joy after Gazette helps to get his support railings repaired

Alex Abernethy with the handrails outisde of his home before the work was completed.
Alex Abernethy with the handrails outisde of his home before the work was completed.

An elderly South Tyneside man has spoken of his delight after the Gazette helped him to get support railings at his home repaired.

Alex Abernethy, 85, from Henderson Road, South Shields, suffers from mobility problems and relies on two support barriers on either side of a ramp in front of his home.

Mr Abernethy, who is partially sighted and uses a mobility scooter, said the barriers were there to stop him from falling, but that they had become rusty and painful to hold.

He said that he had been trying for a number of years to get them repaired, but to no avail.

The dad-of-one said his latest request to both South Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Homes for action resulted in him being told by both organisations that the other was responsible to undertake the repair.

But now thanks to the Gazette championing his cause, Mr Abernethy has said the work has now been done.

The former compositor, who worked for the Gazette until the 1980s, said: “The barriers have been up for about 30 years and were in a bad state of repair.

“The surface had rusted away and it hurt when you held on to it.

“But someone from the council came down on Tuesday morning and painted them.

“I have also had four or five calls from council officials apologising for what happened when I phoned them up.

“Someone from the council even came down on Monday morning, but the weather was too bad so I told him not to worry.

“The handrail is now painted white with special paint for steel and it is smoother to use.

“It stops me falling off the ramp.

“I want to thank the council for doing it.”

South Tyneside Council previously apologised to Mr Abernethy and promised to resolve the issue.