‘We were shocked to hear the severity of what could have been’ - Norwich couple saved by newly fitted carbon monoxide alarm

Eric and Joyce Watkins from Taverham who in their 80's had a carbon monoxide alarm installed in thie

Eric and Joyce Watkins from Taverham who in their 80's had a carbon monoxide alarm installed in thier home thanks to money from the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, the device ended up saving theri lives only a few weeks later. - Credit: Archant

An elderly couple whose lives were saved by their carbon monoxide alarm are today urging others to have one fitted.

Eric and Joyce Watkins from Taverham who in their 80's had a carbon monoxide alarm installed in thie

Eric and Joyce Watkins from Taverham who in their 80's had a carbon monoxide alarm installed in thier home thanks to money from the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, the device ended up saving theri lives only a few weeks later. - Credit: Archant

Eric and Joyce Watkins had only just returned from a holiday in Cyprus when their recently installed detector started to go off.

The couple, from Taverham, initially thought nothing of it, but when it went off again just days later on Tuesday, they decided to get help.

A subsequent inspection by the gas board found that fumes had been leaking from their boiler, which could have resulted in their death.

With the colder weather now setting in, Mr and Mrs Watkins are now calling for other people with gas heating to ensure they have alarms installed.

'Without ours, we could have just dozed off in the chair and not woken up again,' Mr Watkins, 79, said. 'Getting a detector fitted is very, very important because carbon monoxide is absolutely lethal.'

The NHS said more than 200 people go to hospital in the UK each year with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning – leading to around 50 deaths.

Most Read

Mr and Mrs Watkins, only had their alarm installed six weeks prior to the incident thanks to the Royal British Legion's Handy Van service.

Mr Watkins, an ex-RAF junior technician, had got in touch with the charity to see if he was eligible for a number of adaptations to his home.

But following a visit from handyman Chris McGee, they were also advised to have a C0 detector installed as the cost would be covered by the charity.

'I was so grateful for the service the legion provided via its handy van service and especially to Chris for his life-saving advice on the alarm,' Mr Watkins said.

'We were shocked to hear the severity of what could have been, the leak could have resulted in grave consequences for my wife and I.

'It's just so lucky Chris insisted on the alarm and I would urge anyone else entitled to such a system to get one fitted.

'Without it going off we would have struggled to get out of the house as my wife has limited mobility and things could have been a whole lot different.'

The Handy Van service is one of many that is offered by the legion and is funded through events like the Poppy Appeal, which begins on October 27.

To become a volunteer with this year's appeal, contact Lyn Hatch on 07795426529 or email lhatch@britishlegion.org.uk for more information.

Are you looking to give up your time for this year's appeal? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter