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Disabled army veteran gets ‘dignified life’ back thanks to regional daily

A disabled army veteran unable to move from her living room can go upstairs again thanks to a regional daily’s intervention.

Brain-damaged Gina Brannigan was forced to sleep, wash and use a commode in the living room after a company refused to fix her stairlift for four weeks.

However, after the Northern Echo learned of Miss Brannigan’s situation, TK Encasa, the company responsible, contacted her partner Mark Shalliker to assure him an engineer would be quickly out to fix the problem.

Mr Shalliker told the Echo the firm had refused to repair it under warranty, claiming he was told the couple must pay £200 for the repair as the fault must have been caused through “misuse”.

Miss Brannigan, 38, joined the army in 1997, but suffered a brain stem cavernoma, a rare condition which has left her with restricted speech and means she is unable to stand unaided, while on her second tour of Kosovo in 2002.

The Echo splashed on the story, written by reporter Katie MacFarlane, on Friday.

Northern stairlift

Echo editor Andy Richardson told HTFP: “It was pleasing to see that, following our intervention, the company agreed to repair the stairlift so that Gina can live the dignified life she deserves.

“This type of story is what the Echo is all about – giving a voice to people who would otherwise be ignored. It proves that local newspapers can still be a force for good in their communities.”

Mr Shalliker, himself an army veteran, said: “There’s been no movement at all for four weeks then the Echo get involved and all of a sudden they want to fix it.”