Stuck in the middle – a press release

This press release tells the story of a disabled person (me) going to an MS Society meeting at Hatfield house but the station is not step free.

Only way out is via stairs, not an option for me

Only way out is via stairs, not an option for me

Their handouts gave directions from the railway station. This scenario  is difficult to believe in the 21st century.

MS sufferer stuck on train platform when trying to attend a meeting is told: “All of our members drive” by organizers

A MEMBER of the MS Society who was invited to a meeting at Hatfield House this month arrived at the local train station to find there were no lifts and ended up stuck on the platform.

Patrick Burke, 57, from Berkhamsted, was invited to afternoon tea for the Society’s 60th anniversary year in the grounds’ The Stables building. He is unable to drive and requires assistance with walking, so took the train to Hatfield.

When I got to the station I realized it was not step free and was literally stuck on the platform. Thankfully a member of the public saw this and got a station employee to carry my mobility scooter over the bridge and I limped along behind,” he said.

He added that he had been unable to attend meetings in the past where there were no step free stations at the locations chosen by meeting organisers.

When he contacted the MS Society about a meeting at Flitwick – where the station is also not step free – he said he was told that “all our members travel by car”.

Patrick added: I really think the MS Society should think about people who have to use the bus or train to get to places. I cannot drive and do not have a carer. My wife helps me but she has got a job so she cannot run around for me all the time plus I like to be independent. The MS society and their staff should ensure that the site as well as the access routes to it are fully accessible and make sure that the event is fully accessible.

It shows how little homework and investigation into the access problems their staff actually did. It is so easy to mention that Hatfield station is not step free if travelling from London and the stations before and after have lifts and there is a frequent service.”

Patrick, a former computer analyst and programmer, was diagnosed with MS in 1995 and currently suffers bad balance and feels nothing from the waist down.

He has set up a website called www.aid4disabled.com which aims to help disabled people lead more independent, active and fulfilling lives by providing information on equipment and facilities available to them, as well as information on Corporate Social Responsibility. He gives talks on MS and long term disabilities to schools, colleges and universities.

Further information

This is a press release that is going to be released after my escapade at Hatfield House on 5th June

Think about it

Have you, as a disabled person, gone to an event and found that the nearest railway station is not step free? This can be a problem for all sorts of people. Sometimes its because their luggage is very heavy. It might be because the children are in a buggy. In my case it was because I’m disabled and cannot climb up the stairs and carry my Travelscoot. Has this ever happened to you? Please do tell me.

Lifts are slowly being installed at all the stations. There are still quite a few stations in London with steps and no lift. Berkhamsted where I live also has the same problem.

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