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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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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

Mrs Pannhausen

Very impressed with Suzanne, Beth & Natalie at the Bridlington Branch, they give 100%, will use them again & recommend them to friends & family.

Mr and Mrs Preston

Williamson’s provide an excellent service at a reasonable price. Very easy to deal with and excellent communication was provided all the way through the transaction. Just what you need in a solicitor.

LJM B

I would highly recommend Williamsons Solicitors, Gordon represented me for my case and was excellent. Always on the end of the phone when I need him. overall top job thankyou. Mr Lloyd Milner

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Very friendly and efficient service always replying to any queries and emails on the same day. If solicitor not in still dealt with by other staff. Would definitely recommend and will use again

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Very good service from everyone I dealt with at Williamson's. They were very quick and responsive and gave that extra push to get me completed before the Christmas holiday! A very nice Christmas present for me!

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Excellent service from start to finish Alison Craven explained everything in detail making sure we understood

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Excellent service from Williamsons throughout a very protracted property transaction. Carey was patient and helpful at all times and we would highly recommend Williamsons based upon our experience. Thank you :)

Paul B

Hi, Thankyou for helping me with the sale of my late mothers house. You kept me informed and processed the transaction very quickly. Regards...Paul

Mr William E

Williamsons Bridlington office conducted the conveyancing of my house recently. The customer service was exceptional and very professional. The regular communications were very helpful and i was kept up to date throughout the process. Many thanks to Suzanne, Beth and all the staff at the Bridlington office.

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