'My children went to bed crying': Family-of-seven left without boiler in cold snap
PUBLISHED: 06:00 01 December 2019
A family of seven, with one child just two years old, were left shivering in their council house for almost a fortnight after their boiler broke.
Claire Wright, 38, and her husband Richard, 41, live in a house in Cherry Tree Lane, Stowmarket, which is owned by Mid Suffolk Council.
When their boiler stopped working on Friday, November 15, an engineer was sent out to inspect it and they were told a solution would be provided on the following Monday.
The couple thought they and their four children, aged from 17 and eight, as well as Claire's two-year-old nephew and their dogs, lizards and birds would soon be warm again - but all they received after the weekend were news of a three-week wait for a new boiler and two energy-hungry electric heaters.
"I had just come out of hospital when the boiler gave up, I was meant to be on bedrest, not freezing cold.
"I couldn't afford to have the heaters on - we're paying £11 a week for our gas, I couldn't afford to spend £20 a day using those to heat the house.
"My children were going to bed crying because they were so cold, all we wanted was our boiler back."
Gavin Fisk, assistant director for housing, said: "We were aware of the situation and have been in regular contact with the Wrights and have kept them updated as to when the new boiler will be installed.
"It is always our priority to ensure that our tenants are comfortable in their homes.
"The family were provided with electric heaters when it was established that the boiler was beyond repair.
"We also ensured that the emersion heater for hot water was working."
One of Mid Suffolk Council's officers visited the Wright family after being contacted by this newspaper and arranged financial support to cover the cost of the use of the electric heaters until the boiler could be repaired next week.
Mrs Wright added: "that money really will help, it means we don't have to live in the cold, especially with the temperatures so low this weekend.
"My 17-year-old may still come downstairs of a morning complaining how cold he is, but the money means we can afford to have the heaters of with all of us in the living room.
"Thankfully we had my granny to help us with the cost of the heating as well, if it hadn't been for her I don't know what we would have done."