Paralysed 'welly wanging' teacher from Wilmington Enterprise College loses £5 million High Court challenge (From News Shopper)
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Paralysed 'welly wanging' teacher from Wilmington Enterprise College loses £5 million High Court challenge
A TEACHER from a Dartford school who was left paralysed after breaking his neck in a freak welly-wanging accident on a school trip has lost his High Court claim for more than £5 million in damages.
Glennroy Blair-Ford will face round-the-clock care for the rest of his life and lives in residential nursing facility several miles away from his family’s home in Bromley.
He was on a week of outdoor activities with his secondary school pupils on Dartmoor in April 2007 when he took part in a "Mini Olympics" event on the final night.
One of the games involved children and adults throwing wellington boots as far as they could, with the teachers handicapped by having to throw backwards through their legs.
But the 45-year-old former head of design and technology at Wilmington Enterprise College, in Common Lane, swung his boot and was propelled head-first to the ground.
Mr Blair-Ford, then of Bromley, south east London, was catastrophically injured, fracturing his neck, and will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
He sued CRS Adventures Ltd, operators of an outdoor pursuits centre at the River Dart Country Park in Devon.
His lawyers argued he had been asked by centre staff to throw the welly adopting an "unsafe" method.
They contended his injuries were "a logical and foreseeable consequence" of the six-foot tall, 15-stone teacher throwing the welly backwards through his legs using the requested method.
However, the judge ruled: "Extremely sad though it be, this was a tragic and freak accident for which no blame can be established."
Mr Justice Globe, sitting in London, rejected the claim that CRS was liable and ruled there was "no foreseeable real risk" of injury from welly-wanging.
Mr Blair-Ford and his insurers now face a large legal costs bill.
The judge ordered an interim payment of £100,000 to CRS pending a final assessment of the total amount.
Rejecting the damages claim, the judge ruled the risk that needed to be foreseeable for the claim to succeed was "the risk of serious injury and not just the risk of any injury".
But even if the test had been foreseeability of "any" injury the result would have been the same.
The judge said: "I am satisfied that there is good evidence of a number of people having witnessed on an appreciable number of occasions people throwing the welly backwards through the legs with two hands with no difficulty, no falling and no injury".