emails have only ever been offered to active customers. if your email worked after that time it was missing during a clean up that has not been spotted. You can't pay extra to access the accounts. Within time i'm sure they will bounce back as failed
IMHO, there is little merit to the abrupt termination of such email accounts. Virgin Media would have been better off issuing a notice of termination in, say, 28 days and, at the same time, taken the opportunity to see if the user wished to become a customer.