Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Just Wouldn't Cope without Family; A DAY IN THE LIFE OF BLIND LADY DEEMED 'FIT FOR WORK'

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Just Wouldn't Cope without Family; A DAY IN THE LIFE OF BLIND LADY DEEMED 'FIT FOR WORK'

Article excerpt

Byline: KALI LINDSAY Reporter kali.lindsay@trinitymirror.com @KALIALINDSAY

The Chronicle's front pages reporting Hazel's plight MAKING a cuppa is something most of us do every day without a second thought.

But for Hazel Macrae, who's been blind since birth, it poses a real danger.

Yet, the 62-year-old was told by the Department for Work and Pensions that she was fit for work.

We found out more about what a day in the life of Hazel is like.

Living in a ground floor flat in Walker, Hazel depends on the help of her partner Jo Mattock, 66.

She said: "Jo does everything for me. I get up and can get dressed, but he puts my clothes out for me.

"He cooks, does the washing, makes me cups of tea."

Hazel also has epilepsy, Type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis, which requires medication.

"I have quite a lot of medication to take, so Jo organises it all for me," she said. "I wouldn't be able to take it without him."

After she's up and ready, Hazel enjoys reading her braille books.

"I get books from the braille library, so before I go out I like to sit and read them," she said.

Hazel never leaves the house by herself, she is always with Jo or with her son Stephen Brown, because she is afraid of falling.

She said: "If I used a white stick I would not have the confidence to go out of the house by myself.

"Every day I go down to my sister-in-law's house. She lives just a couple of streets near me. We go down for a few hours everyday - she is really good with me."

Getting out of the house for Hazel is important as it gives her the chance to talk to other people.

She said: "I go to the shops with Jo and once a week Stephen takes me into town. We go for something to eat and it is something I really look forward to.

"Stephen isn't here every day but he phones every day to make sure I'm OK.

"He'll take me to any doctor appointments I have as well."

It was Stephen who went with Hazel to Gosforth when she had to undergo a back-to-work capability assessment at Arden House as part of her Employment Allowance Support.

After undergoing the assessment the DWP said she was 'fit for work'. …

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