AN arthritis sufferer feels she has "lost her independence" after the closure of a mobility scooter service company earlier this year.

Yolande Burtonwood, of Oaklands Road, Lowton, was a member of the former Shopmobility store on Gas Street in Leigh town centre for years.

The shop, which offered services such as mobility scooter hire to people in need of assistance for 32 years, was run by Wigan Council until 2011 when it withdrew its £100,000 per year support.

A fall in sales, inflation costs and forecasted salary and pension increases led to Shopmobility trustees making the decision to close it in January.

Yolande, 60, who has crutches but needs assistance to travel longer distances, said: "It feels like I have lost my independence with there not being a mobility scooter service in the town centre anymore.

"I used to go to Shopmobility every week on a morning before going shopping.

"It takes something away from a person's life not being able to meet up with friends and look around the shops.

"I know the council do not have to open another shop but disabled people should have a voice and I know there are a lot of people in Leigh who would use the services again.

"It would be wonderful if they could do something about it which would give me some life back.

"I have to do my shopping online now."

The council says it is searching for another business to offer services for mobility scooter users.

A spokesman for the local authority said: “We have approached a number of private businesses in the borough who could deliver this type of service and offered them support but sadly nobody has yet taken up the offer.

"Although this is not a service the council is directly required to offer, we do understand its importance for residents and will continue to do what we can to find a potential provider.”