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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 08:20 GMT
Computer says no to a 'miracle'
Pippa Quelch
BBC Radio Devon Faith Producer

June Clarke
June Clarke said doctors were amazed by her recovery
A woman who claims she was healed by prayer had to battle the benefits system to stop her disability payments.

Officials said the computer did not "have a button for miracles".

June Clarke, 56, from Plymouth, Devon, slipped on a wet canteen floor at work in January 2000 and badly damaged her hip, pelvis and lower spine.

Last year she says she received healing at a Christian conference and within hours she was able to fold away her wheelchair and stop taking painkillers.

For six years she had experienced progressive, intense pain and was unable to continue working or walk more than a few steps.

Mrs Clarke's husband Stuart, a pastor at Hooe Baptist Church, said he prayed every day after the accident for God to "bring my wife back".

Then last year she was invited to the Christian conference.

It can't be often that a government department gets a complaint about unwanted cash
June Clarke
She says medics were amazed by her recovery, which she puts down to the power of prayer and patience.

When Mrs Clarke realised she was completely healed she contacted the government Industrial Injury Department to put a stop to the benefits she had been receiving, but the payments continued.

Mr and Mrs Clarke sent letters and made phone calls, but officials told them the system was unable to recognise an apparently miraculous recovery.

Mrs Clarke had been awarded an allowance for life and the computer was not programmed to allow that payment to end while she was still alive.

After six months, she saw an official government doctor who registered her as fully fit.

June and Stuart Clarke
Mrs Clarke's husband Stuart is a pastor at Hooe Baptist Church
The allowance was stopped and Mrs Clarke was able to repay the money.

Mr Clarke said: "We would have loved to have used the money for a good cause, but it wasn't ours to spend.

"It can't be often that a government department gets a complaint about unwanted cash."

A spokesperson from the Department for Work and Pensions said: "Each case is treated individually.

"When a customer contacts us to say they no longer require or need to claim benefits we ask for a letter of confirmation for security reasons.

"Following receipt of the letter we will cease the benefit."

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