Council comes to aid of sisters plagued by wasps – The Northern Echo




Council comes to aid of sisters plagued by wasps

By Duncan Leatherdale

A COUNCIL has removed a wasps’ nest that was blighting the lives of two elderly sisters’ only hours after they issued an appeal for help.

Joan Winship and Peggy Smethurst were originally told they would have to pay Durham County Council to remove the nest from their garden, in Shildon .

But, after hearing of the ladies’ difficulties yesterday morning, workers from the authority’s street scene team visited in the afternoon to remove the hazard for nothing.

Ms Winship, 84, has crippling arthritis while Ms Smethurst, 92, is registered blind and deaf.

The sisters first noticed the nest beneath a small fir tree in their garden, in Tynedale Walk, about a month ago, and since then their lives have been blighted by the swarming insects.

Their neighbour, Michael Walton, was stung on the eyelid and had to undergo a course of antibiotics after he disturbed the nest.

Ms Winship said: “They were horrible things and anyone who visited had to be very careful. Anyone coming to the house had to walk right past the nest and we were terrified of anyone else getting
hurt.”

The pair contacted Durham County Council but were told they would have to pay £38 for it to be removed.

Ms Winship said: “We simply could not afford that on our pensions. We were at a bit of a loss really.”

Ms Winship’s granddaughter contacted The Northern Echo to explain the ladies’ plight, which in turn contacted the council.

Her granddaughter said last night: “I was aggrieved about the fact they would have to pay and concerned due to the vulnerable nature of my grandmother and aunt, so I am really pleased it has come
to such a quick and good conclusion.”

Keith Parkinson street scene manager at Durham County Council, said: “While wasp control is a paid-for service this was an exceptional case where the insects were causing a nuisance beside the
highway, and the ladies faced very particular difficulties.

“Removing the nest was a fairly simple task in this instance as it was easily accessible.

“We very much hope the ladies will not be troubled with them again.”

Council comes to aid of sisters plagued by wasps – The Northern Echo
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