A BORDON Scout leader, who broke his back after sliding down a fireman’s pole and landing on his bottom, has been awarded nearly £170,000 for the disabling injuries he suffered.
At the High Court in London last week, Robert Wilson (49), of New Road, Whitehill, won damages from the owner of Clyne Farm Centre, Mayals, near Swansea, Wales, where he had taken his troop for a week-long adventure course in August 2009.
At a hearing in October 2012, the court had been told eh was going round the obstacle course with the Scouts, which included rope bridges and a wall.
When he reached the top of the ten foot scaffolding pole, the confident 24-year-old female instructor had told him he would be fine, even though he had previously had no experience of using a fireman’s pole.
The only time he had seen anyone descending a pole was while watching Fireman Sam on television with his young son.
He said that the instructor had told him to “just give it a big hug.”
Mr Wilson, who described himself as an “unfit fat taxi driver” before the accident, could remember little after that apart from “moving off the platform and hitting the deck.”
He was taken to hospital by helicopter and, despite major surgery, his work as a driver and as a carer for his wheelchair-bound wife had been drastically curbed by the injury.
Mrs Justice Swift described Mr Wilson as a “throughly genuine and honest individual” and found that the instructor had failed to demonstrate how to safely descend the pole in wet conditions.
She ordered Geoff Haden, trading as Clyne Farm Centre, to pay compensation of £167,514, including £25,000 for his pain, suffering and loss of amenity and other sums for his lost earnings and the extra assistance he would need due to his permanent injury.
Lawyers for Mr Haden said the assault course had been devised with the help of an Army instructor and been used by more than 300,000 people in 20 years, without any similar accidents.
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