FRIENDS of a disabled man, reliant on a motorised scooter, were left ‘sickened’ after a security guard on duty at Worthing Birdman told them they would have to carry him up steps if he wanted to enter a seafront café.
Rich Spicer, of Roundstone Drive, East Preston, asked the guard on the Denton Lounge door if there was disabled access for his friend, Dom Pardey, to which the doorman responded: “No, mate, not unless you want to carry them up these steps.”
Rich said: “It makes you sick. At the time we kept it away from him, as he was there to enjoy himself. I’ve spoken with him since and he is quite shocked it happened.
“You don’t realise until you actually walk around with someone who’s disabled how hard it is. I mean it’s awful, it just needs awareness raising.
“It’s a disgusting attitude and they should feel truly ashamed.”
Rich and his wife, Louise, had invited their friends, Marc French and Dom, to visit them for Birdman earlier this month and were ‘excited’ to have VIP tickets to the pier.
Rear access to the Denton Lounge from the pier was fenced off, as was disabled access from the front, to prevent overcrowding on the verandah.
Disabled people who required access to the lounge should have been told to go through the Pavillion Theatre entrance.
Dom suffered a stroke on Christmas Day 2005, when he was 28, leaving him paralysed and reliant on a motorised scooter.
A spokesman for Worthing Theatres said: “The Denton entrances were blocked on both sides to prevent the restaurant from becoming a thoroughfare for Birdman audiences.
“Unfortunately the member of security staff who spoke to Mr Spicer was from an outside company and should not have restricted access for anybody needing to use the ramped entrances and should have directed them via the Pavilion.
“We have apologised to Mr Spicer and his friend and are grateful to have had this brought to our attention so we may ensure this is not repeated at future events.”
Vino Vinojan, owner of Key 2 Security Solutions, which provided security for the Denton Lounge at the event, said: “We apologise if one of the staff members said that and we will look to correct it.”