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‘I did this for all the old folk’, says centenarian after court victory over gas fire tradesman

26 October 2017

Civil Litigation, News

‘I did this for all the old folk’, says centenarian after court victory over gas fire tradesman

A Bridlington man’s long wait for justice ended on the day of his 100th birthday.

Joseph Connell sued a local tradesman for breach of contract through the County Court after claiming he had been taken advantage of because of his age.

He had ordered a brand new gas fire, but it was the wrong type and made from at least two old ones.

Hull firm Williamsons Solicitors, which has a Bridlington office, took up the case for Mr Connell after he had already commenced legal proceedings against the tradesman.

Mandy Anfield, head of the civil litigation team at Williamsons, said: “Supporting Joseph was the right thing to do and getting him what he deserved was very pleasing. It was perfect timing for everything to be settled on the day of the family celebration of his 100 years.”

The dispute over the £380 supply and installation of the fire began in May 2016.

District Judge Neaves found in his favour at Scarborough County Court last December, awarding  £380 plus costs on account of the tradesman’s ‘unreasonable behaviour’ in the case.

But it was not until October 9, 2017 that he received his cheque. “I did this for all the old folk in Bridlington,” said Mr Connell, who brought the case with the help of his son, Iain.

Iain Connell said: “We went to Williamsons when it was clear the court hearing was likely to be difficult for my father, given his great age, and we are extremely grateful to Mandy Anfield and her assistant solicitor Gordon Sewell for their help and support.

“It’s fair to say this has dominated dad’s life for the last 17 months, but I suppose every cloud has a silver lining because it has given him something to focus on.”

In his witness statement to the court Mr Connell said he ordered a new manually operated living flame gas fire.

But when the tradesman returned a week later he said they were no longer available and fitted a remotely controlled fire instead.

“I have subsequently learned that there are many manually operated living flame gas fires available from numerous distributors,” Mr Connell said.

“I can only assume it did not suit him to supply one of these and that he saw an opportunity to take advantage for his own purpose.”

He added: “The fire was badly fitted, had some kind of masking tape stuck around its sides and that there were gaps in the plaster work around the fire. Part of the fire fell off.

“When I told the tradesman I was very dissatisfied with the standard of workmanship he disconnected it, but refused to refund me the £380.”

Mr Connell sent a warning letter and then decided to take the contractor to court.

Failure to pay the County Court judgment led to the case being referred to Alamo Legal Enforcement Services, of Hessle, near Hull, acting on behalf of the High Court.

But when they called to collect the money the defendant denied he was the person referred to in the judgment, claiming it was his cousin, in the same line of work but not living at the same address.

Civil Litigation - Mandy Anfield and Gordon Sewell“It became necessary to go back to court and apply for the court papers to be changed,” said Gav Orsborne , of Alamo. “Otherwise it would have made enforcement difficult and it caused further delay although he came clean in the end.”

Mr Connell was born at Glengarnock, North Ayrshire, where in the war he had a reserved occupation in the local steel works and was also a volunteer fireman.

Moving to Bridlington in 1955, he ran a holiday flat business with his wife Marjorie until the 1970s alongside his fulltime work as a welder and then steelwork supervisor for former Beverley shipbuilders CD Holmes.

Iain Connell added: “Dad has coped brilliantly since my mother died in 2011 after they had been married for 62 years.”

For his 100th birthday Mr Connell also received a card from the Queen and a card from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

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Excellent 5* service. We tragically lost our daughter and we found Williamsons Solicitors who guided us through all the claim process. They are extremely knowledgeable and professional with a personal style that made the journey more manageable. There communication is always prompt. Thoroughly recommend Wayne Walker.


I can well recommend, I have received professional and honest service which lead to positive closure of the case. Always responded with care and fully involvement which gave me more confidence to continue. All advices during the progressing of the case was competent and mirrored current situation.

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The conveyancing team were excellent, extremely helpful and made sure that I felt valued at all times. A big thank you

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We would like to thank Gordon for his assistance and reassurance in dealing with the problem regarding the boundary hedge. His professionalism and manner are a credit to the company and we would certainly recommend him to friends.

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Beth Dyson and colleagues have been excellent during the purchase of my new house. Very responsive to email and phone queries, polite and professional, and the sale has been completed in 13 weeks from acceptance of the offer to completion. Given the current COVID-19 situation and how that has impacted on everyone, that's great. Thanks to everyone at Williamsons for making buying my new home so straightforward!

Miss S

Excellent service from Beth Dyson despite all the pressures of the Covid lockdown. Beth carried out conveyancing of my sale and purchase very thoroughly and efficiently with good communication and always in a helpful and friendly manner. Many thanks.

Joanna H

Well from the moment I met Wayne Walker his professionalism,clarity of thought, and aim to do the best job he can were all evident. He has been involved with my family for five years nearly and has always made me feel as though my views were relevant and integral to furthering the case. Wayne has highly developed organisational skills and we always felt just ‘looked after’ by Wayne snd Williamsons in getting through the very worst of times. Wayne sometimes needed to encourage me to look at things from a different perspective and he always achieved this with firm kindness. Wayne is a great professional but more importantly a fundamentally great human being. I will always recommend Williamsons and especially on the subject of clinical negligence I will always recommend Wayne. Full job well done start to finish. Thanks Wayne there are no words. Jo Hogg (Polly’s mum)


Williamsons Solicitors supported our family to succeed to a very high level. We cannot thank Sarah Jackson enough for her incredible support, dedication and commitment to understanding the finest detail of our case. Her dedication was phonememonal and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend her in a heartbeat. Thank you for bringing closure to our case and for supporting us one hundred percent. We were informed at every stage within the case and knew we were in safe professional hands throughout. Many thanks, Mr and Mrs Appleton.

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Carl R

I was very happy with the way they handled my case and still got the result even in these hard times where having at the moment thank you to all involved and I’d recommend you to others

Angie L

Williamsons solicitors were professional, caring and efficient. They dealt with what was, a very upsetting experience I had via medical negligence. They kept me up to date, enquired about my well-being and were always available to either speak to me when I had concerns or answered my emails. They ensured that the compensation I finally received was in my best interests by advising what they thought was a too low first offer of settlement. I cannot thank them enough for the way they handled my case and for pushing for a better higher settlement figure. I would definitely use them again should I ever be in a position to need them Thank you so much.

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Would definitely recommend this company, very knowledgeable on all aspects. Extremely helpful with a caring and kind approach, made me feel at ease and comfortable. I was always kept informed at every stage of my case Very happy and would 100% use them for any other matter if needed Thankyou

Mrs Baker

Excellent service, made to feel very welcome, looked after from the very first minute.. would highly recommend to anyone looking for conveyancing on a property or setting up a will.

Mr W F

alison craven, provided excellent service and went above and beyond to make sure my will was sorted quickly with this current situation we find ourselves in. great,proffessional work.


Used them a few times for conveyancing and this time, for our Wills. Excellent service as always.

Mr Longhorn

Very helpful and supportive and kept me informed all through the process; it went very smoothly and that owes a lot to how they managed it in such a professional manner

Mr and Mrs Hutson

Throughly pleased with all aspects of the service, always updated on every change, or new information regarding the sale of our house and purchase of the new property. Everything went smoothly and couldn't fault the attention to detail and customer service. Thank you to Beth and all who assisted in the process.

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Sue W

In May 2017 after a long & painful road of recovery wich is still ongoing today. I finally plucked up the courage & decided to approach Willams Solicitors as I felt that there was something very wrong with the poor service i received in March 2015 from 1 1 1. Having made two calls over the weekend. Inspite of right leg being in immense pain & stone cold I was told that i had probably pulled a muscle nothing they could do for me & to visit my GP So after a weekend of struggling with pain i visited my GP to be rushed to Hospital with absent pulses in the right foot. On examination there was a blood clot on my right knee caused by Critical ischaemia nothing whatsoever to do with a pulled muscle. I was told i needed a thrombosis procedure to dissolve blood clot if this was unsuccessful they would have no other choice than to amputate below the right knee I was devastated Thanks to this amazing solicitors who advised me that they felt 1 1 1 had possibly been neglectful & would like to take my case on. With an outstanding Nick Gray becoming my solicitor & the amazing team of experts including Julian Matthews an absolutely brilliant barrister Vascular surgeons experts Professor sir Peter Bell & Professor Shearman who were also amazing in highlighting the Hospital were neglectful as well & need not of removed my leg & could have avoided amputation. All of the other team of experts who helped with this case as well were very good In fact I had a fantastic team i couldn't fault Williams solicitors at all. They proved all 3 defendants to be negligent & they got me an amazing settlement far more than I could ever dreamed of & in a short space of time A huge thanks to Nick Gray & his fantastic team inside & outside Williams I can start rebuilding my life knowing I can afford to have & get the very best in making life a lot easier. I can't have my leg back but I can now smile again knowing life won't be a struggle. I would strongly recommend this Solicitors to anybody who needs a professional honest caring & worth every penny Solicitor you will not be disappointed. Once again a massive Thank you to Nick Gray & all his team ❤ Sue Willoughby

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