PHONE company BT left a terminally ill cancer patient from Eaton Ford without a telephone line for seven weeks.

In her last days, June Gore was left struggling to get signal on her mobile phone. Her daughter, Jacqueline McLellan, first reported the problem on May 27. 83-year-old Mrs Gore, who lived in Trafalgar Road, died on July 14 but the fault wasn't fixed until August 3 - yet BT are now sending letters threatening further action against her if a bill for £165 is not paid.

Mrs McLellan said she is disgusted by the national company's treatment of her mother - and insulted by an offer of £40 compensation.

She said: "It's disgraceful. They left my mum with no landline for eight weeks. They transferred her calls to her mobile but I told them that she didn't have any signal.

"She had lung cancer and emphysema and was really worried about her phone but we couldn't get them to fix the problem. It was absolutely awful and I am disgusted with the way we have been treated."

Mrs McLellan, who lives in Enfield, has complained to the ombudsman about her family's treatment. Because she lived so far from her mother, Mrs Gore's telephone was a lifeline to her daughter.

"I live more than 50 miles away," she said. "Because she was so ill, mum needed to be able to ring in an emergency. We needed to be in touch with her all the time. She would get herself so anxious because she worried about having to use her mobile.

"The family rang her every day as we were all aware she had limited time left and wanted to make her last days happy. Without her phone line she became anxious and worried."

She said she has spent hours on the phone to BT's customer services, explaining the situation again and again in more than 30 separate telephone conversations. Even Mrs Gore's community nurse called BT to stress the importance of her patient's telephone line.

A spokesman for BT said: "We spoke to Mrs McLellan today and have apologised for the distress caused by our delay in repairing her mother's telephone line.

"We have refunded the cost of all the mobile calls on the bill and credited the line rental for the period the fault remained unrepaired. We have also paid her £40 as a goodwill gesture.

"Mrs McLellan also said that her mother had spent £80-£100on mobile phone calls and we've asked her to send the receipts to us so that they can be credited."