delighted Kitty Weston gleefully accepted her Belper News New Year Honours award — little more than a week after she ended up in hospital after falling ill.
The 85-year-old, who lives in Belper, was one of eight inspirational winners of the awards for unsung heroes and had been due to attend our ceremony on Friday, February 25.
But, the day before, Kitty fell ill and ended up in hospital with chest pains and was unable to attend.
She alleges she fell ill after she was dropped off at her home by taxi from one of her regular blood transfusion appointments at the Royal Derby Hospital and there had been a mix up over the fare.
She claims there was a misunderstanding over whether she had to pay the £30 fare, but Kitty said the cost was paid by the NHS via an account.
The driver, of Derby-based Western Cars, was suspended by the firm after the incident pending an inquiry by the company.
Kitty returned home from hospital on Thursday, March 3, to continue her recovery and welcomed the Belper News the following day so we could present her award.
She even told us that she had begged staff at the Royal Derby Hospital to let her attend our ceremony!
But to her disappointment, she was told it was not advisable.
Kitty, who was nominated because she has raised thousands of pounds for charity over the years, said: “I begged them to let me come! But they would not let me. I was ever so mad.
“I would like to thank the people who nominated me and all the people that have supported me over the years in raising money for Cancer Research and Babington Hospital.
“I always remember my mum when I was young saying if you cannot help people along life’s way it is time to close the book.
Kitty’s god-daughter Julie Coffey said: “Kitty was really upset and disappointed that she could not attend the ceremony.”
Mark Keenan, the managing director of Western Cars, confirmed the driver had been suspended while the matter was investigated. He added that the firm had sent flowers and a letter of apology to Kitty.
He said: “It was an unfortunate misunderstanding with the hospital. But whether her illness was due to the incident is open to debate. We are still investigating and taxi licensing in Derby are looking in to the situation as well.”