Good Samaritan who cleared drifts from 90-year-old's footpath slammed by health and safety brigade

A Good Samaritan who cleared his elderly neighbour's snow-blocked footpath so she could leave her house has been warned not to do it again - because of health and safety fears. 

Although the act of kindness helped 90-year-old Joyce Burt to go outside after being stranded in her home for over a week, her neighbour has received a ticking off for his good deed.

Mrs Burt, from Willenhall, West Midlands, was furious with landlord Walsall Housing Group after they wrote a letter to Michael Lander telling him not to clear the drifts again, due to fears over health and safety.

Joyce Burt, 90, was able to go outside - having been stranded by snow in her home for over a week - after Michael Lander cleared the path

Neighbourly: Joyce Burt, 90, was able to go outside - having been stranded by snow in her home for over a week - after Michael Lander cleared the path

But Mr Lander, a 60-year-old lollipop man who lives in an adjacent block of flats to Mrs Burt's home, was sent the letter before meeting housing officers who told him his actions were dangerous.

Although he was also scolded by housing staff at the meeting, he vowed: 'I'd do it all again.'

He said: 'To me it's a little bit childish.

'If the other residents ask me to do it, then I will clear up the snow. 

'I've been doing it for years. 

'If we slip and hurt ourselves on the footpaths who would compensate us? 

'I was taught by my parents to help others and that's what I did.' 

The heavy snow caused drifts and blocked the path for eight days over the Christmas period, which left the grandmother-of-seven unable to take her usual taxi to the shops.

So Mrs Burt, a former care worker, was delighted when Mr Lander knocked on her door and offered to clear the path.

She said: 'He spent all afternoon clearing the snow and ice. 

'I was able to call a taxi and go into town for a short while.

'I don't like to be inside all the time and I missed going out.' 

But she was shocked when she learned days later that Mr Lander had been criticised for his actions.

'I was dumbstruck when he brought the letter over here a few days later,' she added. 

'I could not believe it - I was so mad.

'I was disgusted because he was such a kind gentleman that came on his own accord and offered to move the snow from my path. I was so grateful.

'I have lived here for 11 years and it normally takes them weeks to take any action when you ask the housing group to do anything, yet in no time at all they wrote this letter.

'I can't believe anybody can be so insensitive.' 

A Walsall Housing Group spokesperson stated that although they applaud Mr Lander's intentions, other residents have complained about his actions.

Spokeswoman Lyndsey Hunt said: 'We celebrate community spirit, as shown by Mr Lander, and applaud his efforts to keep the footpath clear for himself and neighbours. 

'We know he acted with the best intentions and is an asset to the block.

'At the same time we were made aware - by another resident - that as a result of the snow being cleared the path had become more slippery and the potential danger of this was explained to Mr Lander in person by one of our team.

'We hope Mr Lander understands that while we appreciate his efforts the safety of all our residents is our absolute priority and our response was designed to keep everyone safe and well.'

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