Smoke detector saved life of ex-servicewoman a week after being fitted

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A smoke detector saved the life of an Northampton ex-servicewoman in a kitchen fire, a week after the safety device was fitted.

Vivienne Webb, aged 89, from Kingsthorpe, had the detector installed for free by the Royal British Legion under its Poppy Calls scheme for veterans.

A week later the former WREN Air Mechanic, who is almost blind, accidentally left a tea towel on her electric hob.

She was sleeping at the time, but fortunately the smoke alarm alerted her and she called the fire service shortly before the house was filled with smoke.

Her daughter, Jackie Kitchen, said: “Mum is quite firm about certain things, especially when they cost money, and she wouldn’t get a detector.

“When we heard about the free checks from the British Legion she was happy to go ahead and I’m so glad she did.

Mrs Webb said: “I’m so grateful for all they’ve done. Poppy Calls saved my life.”

Poppy Calls continues to support Mrs Webb, who stripped and cleaned machine guns and hand grenades at an Orkney Islands naval base in World War Two.

The scheme is currently available in a number of counties in the UK and is free to 
veterans and their families who are on means-tested benefits.

Poppy Calls also provides a free service to those aged 75 or over, providing they are Legion-eligible.