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Mum forced to turn off heating and stuff son's clothes with hot water bottles

The cost of living crisis has forced a mum to turn the heating off and stuff her son’s clothes with hot water bottles.

As mortgage and energy bills continue to rocket thanks to a multitude of crises and Liz Truss’s inept leadership, one mum has been forced to turn to desperate measures.

Unable to afford her heating and her home, Abigail Tunstall has taken to “strapping” hot water bottles to her son to keep him warm at night.

Abigail has physical disabilities so can’t work and relies on allowances to support her two sons, aged 21 and 15 - one of whom is disabled

In January 2022, the 49-year-old was paying £360 a month for her mortgage for their three-bed home in Truro, Cornwall.

The mum-of-two says she's been hit by a 'trifecta' that has left her worrying she'll have to sell her house (


Abigail Tunstall / SWNS)

However, that's since risen to £510 a month and is set to rise again to £525 in March.

In order to be able to afford her mortgage she has had to sacrifice her heating altogether - a move that sees the family home get as cold as nine degrees at night.

She said the "trifecta" of rising mortgage costs, food prices, and utility bills has crippled her.

The former nurse told CornwallLive: "With bills and food as well as the mortgage, it's a three-pronged hit. When the temperature gets down to nine degrees, I have to keep my son warm somehow - even if it means strapping hot water bottles to him.

"Because of my health conditions I am often in pain and that is not helped by the cold - so my pain has gone through the roof. It's the trifecta of food, utility bills, and mortgage - if it wasn't all three it wouldn't be so terrifying."

Now unable to afford the heating her house plummets as cold as nine degrees (


Abigail Tunstall / SWNS)

Years ago she was diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder called hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. She also has fibromyalgia, long Covid and myalgic encephalomyelitis, a form of chronic fatigue.

She worked for the NHS until 2012, when she took redundancy after noticing her conditions were causing her too much 'brain fog' to continue. Then she began teaching singing lessons from home before eventually stopping working altogether to become her disabled son's carer.

She is the sole supporter of her sons, and foots the mortgage payments on their house alone, as her former husband left before her second child was born.

She said: "As soon as you put the heating on, it's like you're just watching the money fly out the window." On top of that, she described the "terrifying" rising prices of food and household goods.

Abigail said she's at the point now where if prices don't stop rising, she'll be forced to sell her home. But she fears even that won't be a possibility - as both she and her son require equipment and a stairlift which they cannot afford to have fitted in a new home.

She said: "The trifecta of all three costs is what's pushing most of us over the edge. We just don't have any money left. Because there's only so much you can cut down until there's nothing left to cut.

"It can't continue for things to go up - and unless it affects you, nobody cares. As a country, we're in very big trouble. Until the government stops pretending nothing has happened, nothing will change."

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