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Elderly Couple Sleep In Coats As Heating Bills Become More Expensive Than Ever

Dominic Smithers

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Elderly Couple Sleep In Coats As Heating Bills Become More Expensive Than Ever

An elderly couple are having to wear coats to bed as they can't afford to put the heating on.

Gerald Porter and wife Mair, 80, live in Melksham, Wiltshire, and are struggling to make ends meet following the record hike in energy prices.

Gerald, who served 18 years in the Royal Air Force, says it's 'taken over their lives' and feels as though he's been let down by the government.

"I don’t want to complain really because I‘ve had a good life, but it comes as a huge disappointment," the 83-year-old told The Mirror.

"In the quiet hours when you sit and think, well we did all that and we’ve ended up with all this worry. You’re sort of living on the edge really.

"I don’t know if it’s a matter of age but you think, what did we do all that for?"

Gerald and Mair can't afford to turn their heating on. Credit: Reach
Gerald and Mair can't afford to turn their heating on. Credit: Reach

Gerald says that he and Mair, who was recently diagnosed with vascular dementia, have always tried to help those less fortunate, but with their bills having gone from £110 to £295 a month, they've had to stop.

"For years, I’ve contributed to causes like the Salvation Army or UNICEF. I give them maybe £5 or £10 a month - not much - but that’s all stopped," he told the publication.

"I just can’t afford it. It grieves me to do it, but there you go, I just can’t do anything about it."

And they've even resorted to lining their bed with coats and clinging desperately to hot water bottles to keep themselves warm at night, and also set strict limits on their daily energy usage.

He said: "I can’t imagine a time that I can turn the heating on again, there’s nothing in sight and there’s nothing else I can do.

"The difference between £110 and £295 - it’s a chasm that I can’t cross. I’m not putting the heating on because I refuse to go into into debt."

He went on: "At night, we cover the bed in coats and use an extra blanket because Mair is particularly susceptible to the cold.

Mair was recently diagnosed with vascular dementia. Credit: Reach
Mair was recently diagnosed with vascular dementia. Credit: Reach

"We wear coats indoors now. They’re like long jackets lined with synthetic wool. We’re having to use those in bed too just to make sure we keep warm.

"As you get older, the extremes of heat and cold affect you more."

On top of their financial worries, Gerald is also trying to deal with his wife's diagnosis.

"I’m trying to take it in my stride," he said. "It’s unavoidable, but just another thing to worry about really.

"I'm afraid with my wife's illness, they sort of retreat within themselves. She doesn't have opinions now. She has very basic feelings like 'I’m too cold' or 'I’m too hot'."

And while he says they are lucky to have the support of their granddaughter, Gerald and his wife are having to apply for benefits to help them get by, and he has even started looking for work.

Gerald said: "I detest the thought of relying on benefits. The kindness of strangers. I really hate that. People are generous.

"But it's just the thought that you are really are an individual. Now you're on your own. You've got to get over it and there's nothing I can do, except sell stuff. That's what I could do."

Featured Image Credit: Reach

Topics: UK News

Dominic Smithers
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