A RECORD number of elderly people living alone are now linked to a service which can help them during an emergency.

Darlington Borough Council's Lifeline scheme allows people to live independently while having access to a 24-hour alarm system should they become ill or have an accident at home.

More than 1,000 people are linked to the system which works from a telephone, or from an pendant worn by the client.

The pendant sends a signal to the council's control room in the event of an emergency, allowing a warden to respond swiftly to the call.

Lifeline costs £3.25 per week and is available to anyone living alone who is not already living in council warden-controlled accommodation or in council accommodation covered by the emergency response warden service.

Paul Baldwin, Darlington council's cabinet member for housing, said: "Last year, 200 people joined the service and we are set to surpass that figure this year.