A BAPTIST minister has launched a petition to get a lift fixed after he was trapped in it, which nearly caused him to miss a funeral.
The Reverend Reuben Horsley, 71, got stuck on the Amalfi Tower lift with his wife Dorothy, 70, while on their way to the crematorium.
The pair, who live on the fifth floor of the Lakeside Village block, got into difficulty after the outer door failed to open, when the lift reached the ground floor.
After pressing the lift’s emergency alarm, Rev Horsley, who practices at a church in Simonside, near Jarrow, and his wife, were finally released 20minutes later.
“I was on my way to conduct a service at the crematorium,” he said. “I got there in time, but it was touch and go. Luckily, I got there just before the hearse pulled up.
“I try to get to a funeral half-an-hour beforehand, so I have time to read through my notes and be calm and collected.
“I don’t want to be in a rush when people are upset.”
Rev Horsley, along with ward councillor Robert Oliver, has now started a petition urging Gentoo to repair the lift, which he says has been intermittently out of order for months, and has been cordoned off altogether for at least a fortnight.
“We have two lifts,” he said. “There are 97 flats in the tower, and one of them is now doing the work of two.
“When it operates the noise it makes is awful, the grating of the doors, metal against metal. I’m not a frightened man, but it’s very claustrophobic when you are stuck in there for 20 minutes.”
Rev Horsley says he has already collected about half of the residents’ signatures, but will be going around again to urge more people to add their support.
Gentoo executive director of property services, Ian Porter, said: “We are aware of the issue with the lifts in Amalfi Tower and apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.
“We do have a replacement programme in place for our multi-storey lifts and this will be reviewed.”