Disabled man finally able to leave home after five months

A disabled man who said he was trapped in his own home as his car was being repaired for five months has finally been out and about.

Stanley Bland lives on the Isle of Grain but had not travelled further than the bottom of his driveway since the end of December – but that all changed this week.

Stanley has finally been out after five months. Picture: Stanley Bland

The 67-year-old, who suffers from lymphoedema, has trouble walking long distances so relies on his mobility scooter to get about when outdoors.

He also has a specially adapted car to meet his needs which he leases through Motability – a charity which helps people get vehicles with their disability benefit – every three years.

He also used the Vauxhall Vivaro-Elife to store his mobility scooter in when he is not using it due to a lack of space in his house in Green Lane.

Although he does not drive the vehicle due to his medication, his wife Nicola does and it means they can go out together.

The electric car was first taken to a garage to be fixed after an accident involving a bollard just off City Way, Rochester, on Christmas Eve which caused “minor” damage to the door.

He was originally told it would take two weeks which was manageable but after waiting for more than a month, Stanley chased the garage and found out it had closed down.

The original damage to the car. Picture: Stanley Bland

His insurance company RSA then transferred the car into another garage, which again after months of waiting for the supposed quick-fix, went under.

Having felt “trapped and stranded” for four months, Stanley finally had his car delivered back to him at the start of May – only to find it was damaged.

A panel was missing from under the steering wheel, another was loose and the bonnet would not close. It was then towed back off to another mechanics.

But last Friday, his vehicle was returned – almost five months after it was first taken for repairs.

The retired courier said: “It’s sat on the drive so that is a big plus. It is a relief and such good news.

“We went out on Saturday and Sunday in it. It is like having a new car again. You have to get used to it, it is a crazy feeling. I love it and love being back out. I did not want to go home.”

The car was returned still damaged before being taken away again. Picture: Stanley Bland

On their first trip out together this year, Stanley and Nicola went to Hempstead Valley shopping centre but was hit with disappointment to see there were no jubilee decorations on sale.

He said: “We tried to find some bunting for the jubilee but it is all gone. We could not find it anywhere.”

The next day, the pair then went to a boot fair near Medway City Estate where they finally got their hands on some flags to celebrate with this upcoming weekend.

Despite having the car back, Stanley did take it to a nearby Vauxhall garage earlier this week to ensure it was safe.

He said: “It it had been a week or two, it would have been different but being five months we would like to get it checked over. We do not know where it has been or what has been done.”

The panels were missing under the steering wheel. Picture: Stanley Bland

The car was given the all OK but the mechanics told Stanley they would do another check at the next service.

He is now in compensation negotiations with RCA and are in the process of being reimbursed for the lease money paid out to Motability during the car’s absence.

Stanley joked: “As far as I am aware, I am the record holder for the longest someone has taken their car into the garage to get fixed.”

Kent Medway Alex Langridge


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