Hartlepool dignitary misses majority of Royal visit after getting stuck in lift

STUCK: Coun Mary Fleet.

STUCK: Coun Mary Fleet.

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A CIVIC dignitary was left red-faced after getting stuck in a lift during a Royal visit.

With Hartlepool’s ceremonial mayor Stephen Akers-Belcher away on holiday, Councillor Mary Fleet was drafted in as his replacement to represent Hartlepool Borough Council for Princess Anne’s visit to Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club on Tuesday.

Princess Anne at the Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club.

Princess Anne at the Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club.

But Coun Fleet ended up missing the majority of the half-hour visit by the Princess Royal after getting stuck in the club’s lift as she made her way down to the ground floor.

Coun Fleet was in the lift with five other dignitaries when the it suddenly stopped around 3ft from the floor.

The door opened and the other occupants managed to step out with help from staff at the yacht club, but Coun Fleet was unable to manage the step and a 999 call was made for a fire crew to come to her rescue.

Watch: Princess Royal lands in Hartlepool

Princess Anne at the Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club.

Princess Anne at the Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club.

Barry Hughes, commodore at Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club, said: “We got a five-minute warning that the Princess was on her way, so people started making their way from the reception area on the first floor down to the area where people were meeting Princess Anne.

“Some of the dignitaries came down in the lift, which unfortunately didn’t quite get to the bottom.

“Five of the occupants of the lift clambered out, but Mrs Fleet found it difficult and needed some assistance.

“The fire brigade were called, as well as a lift engineer, and Mrs Fleet was helped out.

“At no stage was anyone in any danger.”

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Fire Brigade said: “We received a call to the Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club at 3.59pm on Tuesday.

“One appliance went to the scene from Stranton and assisted one female from the lift.

“The crew remained at the scene until the lift engineer arrived, and left around an hour later.”

Coun Fleet was unavailable for comment.