Couple first to get vital winter fuel cash help

Mary and Dennis Rix, of Blythgate Cottage, near Tickhill, celebrate being the first recipients of the Surviving Winter Appeal grant.  Picture: Liz Mockler D1643LM
Mary and Dennis Rix, of Blythgate Cottage, near Tickhill, celebrate being the first recipients of the Surviving Winter Appeal grant. Picture: Liz Mockler D1643LM

A COUPLE of pensioners have become one of the first benefactors of an appeal to help isolated and vulnerable people heat their homes.

Dennis and Mary Rix, of Blythegate Lane, near Tickhill, have been given a share of the £11,000 raised as part of the South Yorkshire Community Foundation’s (SYCF) Surviving Winter Appeal, to help people struggling with increasing fuel bills over winter.

The couple’s home is an isolated stone building that is hard to heat, is not connected to the gas network and has to be heated using an oil fire.

Mr Rix, 75, said: “Last winter really was quite difficult. The oil tank is outside and it is impossible to dip it with a stick. We were getting particularly desperate for topping up last Christmas when all the snow came.

“The trucks couldn’t get out to us because we are so isolated from the town.

“We have had a little bit of extra insulation put in, but the house has no cavities or double glazing and very few areas can actually be insulated. It is a very cold house.

“We weather the storm because we don’t have a choice. We always use the heating sparingly. We switch it off at 6pm and try to live in the one room. We have to get into bed very quickly.”

South Yorkshire Community Foundation has been working with charities including Age Concern to help tackle fuel poverty and find those most at risk.

Pauline Grice, chief executive of SYCF, said: “The difficulties being faced really are quite complex, with soaring fuel bills, hard to heat housing and lack of access to certain types of fuel all affecting older people.”

Donations are still being taken online at www.sycf.org.uk/survivingwinter