Council 'Break Promise' To Fix 81-year-old Hammersmith Woman's Heating

Left in cold for two days in her King Street flat

Margaret Light Picture: Clare Mcgechie

December 16, 2022

An 81-year-old woman was left freezing on one of the coldest days of the year after her heating broke while Hammersmith was covered in snow.

Margaret Light was left shivering in -2C conditions by Hammersmith and Fulham Council overnight and had to turn on her oven and open the door to try and heat her flat on King Street in Hammersmith.

The council said it would send someone out to fix the issue on Monday, 12 December, but Margaret’s niece said the promise was “broken” and the pensioner was left in freezing conditions.

It was only after the Local Democracy Reporting Service contacted Hammersmith and Fulham Council for comment that a repair person was sent around to sort the heating, her family said.

Margaret’s niece Clare McGechie, 53, added, “They have treated my aunt terribly. She has a chronic lung condition.

“Nobody came out. She had two days without any heating. She was sitting with a gas cooker open in the kitchen, sitting there with blankets and extra clothing on.

“She is a stubborn old bird, she doesn’t want to move. I think it’s terrible that they treat elderly residents like this.”

A Hammersmith and Fulham spokesperson confirmed there was a delay in getting the heat back on and said they have paid the resident compensation.

“We wholeheartedly apologise to Miss Light for the delay in fixing her boiler on Monday night,” they said.

“The boiler was fixed the next day and we have given her compensation for her cold night.

“We are doing a lot for our residents this winter, including providing free home care and school meals, setting-up activity hubs, providing financial support to help with energy bills, and offering a huge range of advice and support from our dedicated cost-of-living team.”

Hammersmith and Fulham have paid for four warm hubs across the borough to try and help residents as energy prices surge.

The council’s cost of living team can help residents with fuel vouchers, council tax, rent and discretionary housing payments, free school meals and clothing grants, budgeting advice, and local support payments for hardship, crises and emergencies.

You can contact the borough’s cost of living team on 0800 917 6994 or email them at

Jacob Phillips - Local Democracy Reporter