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Pensioner's tangle with Bromsgrove street advert leaves permanent discomfort
A WORCESTER pensioner has spoken of the day she fell over an A-board – leaving her disabled for life.
Susan Ratcliffe was walking out of a charity shop and turned her back, completely unaware that a large advertising frame was directly behind her.
She crashed over the top of it, smacked against the floor and was rushed to Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester with a broken thigh bone.
After undergoing an operation, the fractured femur had to be held together with a metal plate, bolt and pins.
One leg is now shorter than the other, meaning she walks with a slight limp and has to rely on a walking stick. Discomfort is now a constant in her life.
Mrs Ratcliffe, aged 66, a retired cleaner and mother-of-four, now wants other people to be aware of how it changed her life.
“My husband has to cook, he has to clean, he does everything,” she said. “I’m not active any more, I get tired a lot more easily. I don’t feel I have the quality of life I used to have.
“I was such an active person before this happened. It’s certainly changed my life.”
The incident happened on March 26 last year after she was leaving a Primrose Hospice charity shop in Bromsgrove High Street.
“I left the shop and the A-board was directly outside, but I didn’t see it,” she said.
“All I recall is hitting it and I flew through the air and hit the ground.
“I remember this policeman looking down at me to keep me awake while the ambulance came.
“I was squinting up and him and he kept me talking. I was in hospital for a week.
“When I got home my leg was three times the normal size. I needed crutches at first and couldn’t go out for weeks.”
She has now referred the matter to solicitors so they can investigate the possibility of legal action.
Worcestershire County Council is responsible for highways and as recently as 2007 had a crack-down on A-boards, asking shops to remove them.
But in recent years it has relaxed the policy, on the basis that the frames might boost businesses suffering from the economy.
The county council said it could not comment on Mrs Ratcliffe’s accident.
Councillor John Smith, cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “We would remind business owners that A-boards should be kept as close to their shop frontage as possible and they should not cause an obstruction to people, particularly those who are disabled or less able, especially in narrower sections of pavement.”
Primrose Hospice told your Worcester News it did not wish to comment on the incident.