A disabled Ed Sheeran fan has slammed a concert venue after she was left with this view of a METAL GATE during one of his gigs.
Lauren Graham paid £77 for the tickets to watch her favourite singer perform at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena (NIA) on October 18.
But the wheelchair bound 24-year-old was left devastated after the vantage point she was given completely obstructed her view of the stage.
And the airport worker was stunned when she complained to security staff only to be told to STAND UP instead.
Instead she was forced to stare at large blue metal railings in tears for the duration of the one-and-a-half-hour gig.
Lauren, from Solihull, West Mids., accused the NIA of discrimination and said she was disgusted by the way they treated her.
She fumed: “Ed Sheeran’s other two shows were sold out so we were very lucky to get tickets. I couldn’t wait for it as he is one of my favourite singers.
“But when I got there I realised I couldn’t see the stage.
“The gate obstructed the entire view and I do not understand how that is acceptable for the disabled bay.
“The door supervisor told my sister Ellie to just move me back and for me to stand up. I couldn’t believe my ears.
“I found this incredibly rude and disrespectful considering that I can’t stand up.
“He said the only other option was to move to the back of the arena.
“They just wanted to shove me out of the way where you barely see anyway.
“When my sister disagreed he dismissed her and stressed it was the only solution and could not offer any further help.
“I paid the same as able-bodied people but my view was compromised due to the poor layout and I received no help to rectify the situation.
“I felt discriminated against and I was left in tears for most of the evening. It completely ruined my night.”
Lauren has Friedreich’s Ataxia, a progressive neurological illness which effects her balance and prevents her from standing for long periods.
She was diagnosed with the condition when she was nine-years-old but has been in a wheelchair since February.
Lauren emailed to complain about her treatment at the concert which she attended with sister Ellie, 21, and her friend Lizzie Mcinnerney, 21.
But was outraged with the response she received last Tuesday (4/11) from the NIA – which is one of the biggest entertainment venues in Europe.
Lauren, who works at Birmingham Airport on the check-in desk, added: “They basically told me it was all our own fault.
“The door supervisor we named had a very different recollection of how he had helped us that evening.
“He said my sister shook his hand and said ‘thank you’ for being helpful, but that never happened. I know my sister, and she definitely didn’t do that.
“They said the railings had been there for my own safety, what did they think I was going to do, roll off down the stairs in my wheelchair?
“They then emailed back a couple of weeks after saying maybe the staff member was having an ‘off-day’, which I thought was a bit of a understatement but unprofessional to say anyway.
“I’ve been to lots of concerts at other venues and have never had any problems like at the NIA.
“I won’t be going back there, they have treated me appallingly.”
Guy Dunstan, general manager of NEC Group which runs the NIA, said: “Our customers’ enjoyment is of the utmost importance and it is always disappointing to hear a visitor isn’t satisfied with their experience.
“The barriers are essential for the safety of our visitors.
“Full consultations were held with the relevant groups and an independent assessor who represented disabled people whereby the use of these barriers was agreed as they are fully compliant in the disabled seating area.
“We pride ourselves on our customer service and our staff did their utmost to offer a solution as due to the popularity of the event alternative seating was not possible on this occasion.
“We are continually looking to improve our facilities to ensure complete customer satisfaction and take on board all feedback so this is something we are looking into.”