Campaigner, 73, demands ‘deathtrap kerb’ repairs after breaking pelvis in fall

Posted On 12 Nov 2019 at 4:10 pm


A veteran community campaigner is demanding the city council move a “deathtrap dropped kerb” after she broke her pelvis when her mobility scooter slipped there.

Valerie Paynter, 73, was riding along Sackville Road when her new scooter slid off the kerb at the junction with Livingstone Road and tipped over last Wednesday afternoon.

Since then, she has been at the Royal Sussex with two breaks to her pelvis – but to add insult to injury, when she tweeted the council about it today, its Parking and Transport account replied suggesting the photo above was staged.

The kerb is next to a storm drain, and successive resurfacing of the road has raised the tarmac, creating a deep drop into the drain.

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Valerie said: “The road goes straight down into that drain in a really steep way.

“It dips right down into a hole and it takes up quite a lot of the dropped kerb.

“I thought I had my scooter lined up so I could make it. But my chair got over sideways and tipped over straight into that drain.”

Passers-by came to help with blankets and one young woman, a physiotherapist called Saffie, stayed with her until the ambulance came.

Valerie said: “When I got my chair in September I had no idea what I was going to be up against. I’ve lived here since 2002 and even when I was walking with a stick I struggled to get over that kerb.

“People keep saying I should sue the council, but I would rather not sue them, I would rather make a deal with them where they fix this dropped kerb.”

A council spokesperson said: “We were extremely sorry to hear of Ms Paynter’s accident and have apologised for the insensitive and inappropriate tweet which suggested that it was ‘staged’.

“We are taking this issue very seriously and have arranged for the kerb to be inspected as a matter of urgency. We have been in touch with Ms Paynter to discuss her accident further and wish her a speedy recovery.”

  1. Valerie Reply

    To the unknown lady who made the 4:20 ambulance call and stayed the (hour?) it took to arrive – you’re an angel: thanx so much!

    To ‘Adam’ & Chris Hawtree who got my Power Chair back to my flat, I was just so grateful.

    Thanks too to the kind people getting blanket, something under me on the wet pavement… just such wonderful support!

    It all helped create a feeing of safety. Blessings and kudos!

  2. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    It was a shock to have a call with this news, and I went along, spoke with the excellent ambulance men as Valerie Paynter’s arms shook with shock and cold after being on the ground for some forty minutes. She is being valiant with it all, but it is a grim irony that something which should bring greater mobility ends up leading to less mobility (for now). The pavement drops on the west side of Sackville Road are much better designed.

    Meanwhile, when I visited Valerie the other afternoon with some things and news of local events, there was another patient, who strolled by in a dressing gown. I said, “what are you doing here, Michael Gove? I did not know you were ill!” The fellow replied, “you’re not the first to say that I look like him! What makes it worse is that I can’t stand the man. I shall have to do something about it.”

    Good to have a laughter on a hospital ward.

    One thing’s for sure is that Valerie Paynter is not letting this great pain – and it is that – prevent her stirring up the troops.

    Frantic mistake by the Council to say that the photograph was “staged”. I thought it paid somebody a lot to handle social media.

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