A decorated war veteran is facing a £130 fine or even court action after his hospital appointment unexpectedly overran.

Douglas Newham, who received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his acts of valour and courage whilst flying against the enemy in World War Two, said the fine is unjust and unreasonable.

But the 95-year-old's pleas to Cumberland Infirmary's car park contractor UKPC have fallen on deaf ears and the company is now threatening to take him to court.

Mr Newham, of Upton, Caldbeck, said: “I'm going to have to pay this because I think if I don't pay, I'm not sure that the small claims court can adjudicate on the justice of it.”

If he did go to court and lose, he risks having to pay UKPC's legal costs and extra charges which could run into thousands of pounds.

Mr Newham said: “I think it's deplorable. I have written repeatedly to the parking people saying they should have an appropriate appeals procedure for patients who go to the hospital and overrun their parking ticket – they have no control over it at all.”

The widower, who lives alone, visited the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle on Monday, September 26, last year for a routine consultation. Not expecting the appointment to be any longer than previous ones, he paid for an hour long ticket.

But doctors asked Mr Newham to visit additional specialist departments during the consultation, forcing him to overrun his parking ticket by 34 minutes – worth no more than £1.

When he returned to the car he found a penalty notice slapped on his windscreen, ordering him to pay £40.

Mr Newham said: “UKPC profess to have an appeals department and it was to them that I submitted my response.

"I was alone at the hospital, my initial estimate of duration was reasonable and I was in no position to interrupt the consultation to dash back to the car to further feed-the-meter.”

But Mr Newham's appeal was rejected. He appealed again but received the same response.

He even wrote to the chief executive of UKPC, pointing out that it was not a supermarket car park but was at a hospital where unique circumstances apply. He argued the company should exhibit a degree of social responsibility towards patients, but received no acknowledgement or response.

Mr Newham's fine has now risen to £130 because of his appeals.

He said: “I feel discriminated against due to my having no companion with me at the hospital who could feed-the-meter while I was receiving additional treatment.”

Mr Newham suggested a much better way of policing parking would be to have barriers at the car park and charge patients or visitors at the end.

The widower was a navigator in the bomber command during World War Two and was one of only three men to survive out of the 39 he trained with.

His first 30 operations were in the UK and North Africa invasion and he later volunteered to go to Burma.

After the war, Mr Newham worked in various roles for British Airways, ending his career as general manager of operations control.

As well as the Distinguished Flying Cross, Mr Newham was made a Lieutenant of Royal Victorian Order for personal services to Her Majesty the Queen.

He moved up to Cumbria in 1999 to be closer to his family when his wife's health was deteriorating.

“I feel very sorry for people who are perhaps less able than I or more restricted and they would face this,” he said.

A spokeswoman for North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust said: “UK Parking Control (UKPC) were brought in to manage the safety and security of everyone who uses our hospital sites.

“They have an appeals system in place should anyone feel they have unfairly been issued with a parking charge.

“The trust and its PFI partner have been working to improve parking provision at the Cumberland Infirmary and will continue to make improvements for the benefit of patients, staff and visitors.

“Pay on exit barriers will be installed later this year to allow patients and visitors to pay for their parking at the end of their visit.”