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Army veteran used spare pillows to keep warm as freezing temperatures hit

PUBLISHED: 09:09 28 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:22 01 March 2018

Jack Hinsley, 85, of Horsham St Faith, who didn't have heating overnight after contractors refused to come out out of hours. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jack Hinsley, 85, of Horsham St Faith, who didn't have heating overnight after contractors refused to come out out of hours. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

An 85-year-old Army veteran who was too concerned to turn on his heating for more than 24 hours used pillows to keep himself warm.

Jack Hinsley, 85, of Horsham St Faith, who didn't have heating overnight after contractors refused to come out out of hours. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYJack Hinsley, 85, of Horsham St Faith, who didn't have heating overnight after contractors refused to come out out of hours. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jack Hinsley, who lives in retirement housing run by housing association Clarion in The Warren, Horsham St Faith, discovered the pressure was low on his boiler on Monday morning - and immediately called the housing association for help.

But despite being assured staff would bring round electric heaters that night until an engineer could address the problem, no one ever came.

Mr Hinsley also enlisted the help of a neighbours, as well as his brother and sister-in-law David Hinsley and Shirley Marshall who all called both Clarion and heating contractors Morgan Sindall.

But Clarion said they were not alerted that the heating was actually not working until the evening.

Mr Hinsley said: “I waited in and I never heard anything. I never got a call. I got into bed about 11pm, put some pyjamas on and warmed up quite well, but I’ve got some spare pillows on my bed and I put them on top of me and around me to keep warm.”

However, in the night, Mr Hinsley said he felt unwell and called paramedics, who arrived around 5am and stayed with him until 8am.

“In hindsight, I maybe should have tried to turn the heating back on,” Mr Hinsley said. “But I’m not a gas engineer or a plumber and with the pressure low I did not know what might happen. I think some of my problems with feeling unwell was a bit of anxiety about this heating.”

Earlier this month it was announced Morgan Sindall had been stripped of its contract to maintain heating for Clarion Housing in the east - having only been awarded the agreement in October.

From tomorrow (Thursday) the service will be covered by three interim contractors.

A spokesman for Clarion said: “After it was reported Monday night that there was no heating or hot water at this property, our contractor, Morgan Sindall, advised Mr Hinsley they would attend his property within 24 hours. This is the emergency attendance time all of our contractors work to and they have since attended yesterday afternoon, where they found the heating and hot water were both in working order.”

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