EMBSAY pensioner Evelyn Smith is the inspiration behind a new telephone system invented by her grandson which is designed to give elderly people more independence.

The 86-year-old, who used to run the village shop and a B&B until six years ago, lives alone and has always been able to look after herself.

Twice widowed in 1977 and again in 1983, she shops almost daily in Skipton and drives to see her brother in Burnley.

But last year Mrs Smith had her confidence knocked after a strong gust of wind literally blew her off her feet and she broke her arm in several places.

She said: "The accident shook me up a little and made me realise that I need to be a bit more careful these days."

Mrs Smith has always been determined to stay in her own home, where she has lived since 1940.

But it was concern for her by her family that got her grandson, entrepreneur James Batchelor, thinking about a simple, non-intrusive way of keeping them informed of her wellbeing.

Mr Batchelor, who is 28 and from Halifax, launched Alertacall on Monday.

The telephone system requires the elderly user to press a button every day to signify they are okay.

If the button doesn't get pressed a member of the Alertacall team calls that person to make sure they are alright.

If there is no response the company will then ring up three nominated friends to notify them.

Mr Batchelor said: "With Alertacall, families know that unless they hear otherwise, their loved one is okay.

"This is ideal for people who may not want to make a nuisance of themselves by calling every day or who lead such busy lives they are not able to check on their loved ones all the time."

His grandmother finds the knowledge that her family will know if she is in trouble at home very reassuring.

Mrs Smith told the Herald: "I think it's a great idea - it makes me feel a lot easier and safer. I know a lot of people who would benefit from this."

Alertacall is priced at £9.99 a month, with a one-off payment of £25 for set-up costs, which includes the phone. The service can be cancelled at any time.

Mr Batchelor said: "It's one of those things that, until something happens, it's hard to see any value in it.

"It was my own circumstances that gave me the idea for Alertacall - and having had some business experience I couldn't help thinking that there would be a wider audience for it than my gran."

Anyone who would like information about Alertacall can contact 0808 156 5777 or visit www.alertacall.com