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   Inside Out - South: Monday February 13, 2006

Bank battle

Norman Hayward
Fighting Lloyds Bank through the courts - Norman Hayward

Inside Out tells the story of how one man risked everything he owned to fight Lloyds Bank through the courts.

Norman Hayward has been locked in an extraordinary legal dispute that has dragged on for 10 years and cost millions of pounds.

The 66-year-old finally beat the bank on his second visit to the Court of Appeal.

He tells the programme that he has spent more than £2 million on the case because he was determined to prove his point:

"When you are dealing with banks, everybody believes the bank and doesn't believe you. Everybody says you can't beat the bank. But I was just standing up for the truth."

The dispute with Lloyds Bank dates back to early 1991, when Mr Hayward took over as Chairman of Bournemouth Football Club.

He agreed to sign a personal guarantee of £650,000 because the club was heavily overdrawn at the bank.

Over the next three years, the new Chairman cut costs and the finances slowly started to improve.

"I am a football person and I thought I could save the club. It was more than two million overdrawn and losing £800,000 a year. The first year we lost £400,000, which I supported with my own money. The next two years, we made a small profit."

Despite the improving finances, Lloyds still wanted the overdraft reduced.

New capital

In 1994, the bank backed a take-over consortium in the hope that it would bring new capital into the club.

Norman Hayward eventually agreed to sell his shares on the understanding that his personal guarantee would be reduced from £650,000 to £400,000.

He also believed that the bank would not be allowed to call on this guarantee until July 1997 at the earliest.

But when the club got into financial problems in July 1996, the bank demanded the full £650,000.

Norman Hayward had two choices - to pay what he thought was an unfair demand or to fight the bank through the courts.

He decided to fight, even though he knew the costs would be enormous.

As part of his court case, he also claimed that Lloyds had reneged on promises about the club's overdraft.

Facing financial ruin

The trial was a test of integrity, as Norman Hayward's version of events was very different from the banks.

The judge sided with the bank, which left Mr Hayward facing financial ruin.

"It was a nightmare of stress that doesn't just go on for hours, it goes on for days and weeks and years.

"You think where am I going to get the money. We are talking millions and they don't let you off."

Norman Hayward
From scrap to sport and property - Norman Hayward

Norman Hayward started his business life selling scrap from his dad's back garden.

He built a property business from scratch and ended up buying and restoring Creech Grange, a country house in the Purbecks.

After the first court case, however, he was in danger of losing the house.

The bank sent the bailiffs to Creech Grange to try and recover the £650,000.

But Mr Hayward had a tip-off they were coming and moved all of the furniture out of his 26 bedroom house before they arrived.

"We took everything from the house except my bed. We rushed off with it and hired a mill where we stored some. We had a lorry load in a farm.

"We had another house full and friends putting stuff up. We had stuff everywhere."

The bailiffs eventually left empty-handed.

Winning case

Norman Hayward didn't want to give up, even though he had lost the trial.

He decided not to contest the judges decision about the club’s overdraft but he went to the court of appeal about the £650,000 guarantee.

His whole case hinged on an undated note which had been written by a bank manager.

Forensic tests showed that the note had been written after Norman Hayward sold the club, rather than before as the bank had argued.

This simple fact supported Mr Hayward's story and discredited the bank's version of events.

The Court of Appeal ordered a retrial to decide on the issue of the guarantee and, after another expensive week in the High Court, the new judge found in Mr Hayward's favour.

"We won hands down. It was a great verdict and we had the judge reading it out to us. I was there with my family and friends. That was a good day. A really good day," says Hayward.

But that wasn't the end of the case, as Lloyds Bank then appealed against the verdict of the retrial.

The bank finally lost on its second trip to the Court of Appeal last summer.

Legal wrangling

The legal wrangling is still far from over, however. Mr Hayward now faces a lengthy and expensive costs hearing, as he attempts to recoup some of his expenses from the bank.

He says the real scandal is that ordinary people cannot afford to take on the banks, regardless of the merits of their case.

Lloyds Bank declined to be interviewed for the programme.

But the company said in a statement that it had taken legal proceedings to recover £650,000 and that this action had been successful at the first trial:

"It is true that upon Mr Hayward's appeal, a retrial was granted. However, this decision was not because of any failure in the bank's case, but rather what was perceived as an error in legal procedure by the judge in the original trial.

"The bank subsequently lost the retrial and a further appeal. This was based upon the judge deciding that an agreement had been reached between the bank and Mr Hayward which was not supported by the formal documentation.

"Accordingly, the bank still believes that the decision was fundamentally flawed, but we have to abide by the decision of the court."

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Reptiles

Smooth Snake
Smooth Snake - heathland resident

Heathlands like Dorset Heath are increasingly rare - and they're getting rarer.

Eighty per cent of England's heathlands have disappeared in the last 200 years, so it's important to conserve places like Dorset Heath.

Inside Out takes a look at how the heath provides an ideal habitat for reptiles.

Rare reptiles

DORSET HEATHS


The heath lands once covered over 50,000 hectares, stretching as far as Dorchester and Poole.

Dorset Heath is not a 'natural' habitat but was created and shaped by ancient man over about 4,000 years.

Today the heaths cover only 15% of their former area, and are in fragments, separated by poor agricultural land, large urban areas and coniferous woods.

Changes in farming, the growth of towns and road building have all contributed to a reduction in the heath's size to about 7,000 hectares today.

Despite the loss of some areas, the Dorset Heaths boast a range of unique habitats from open, exposed landscapes to undulating, lowland heath and an outer edge of rolling hills with a patchwork of pasture and woodland.

Dorset Heath is a great place for bird watching particularly Nightjars, Dartford Warblers, and Woodlarks.

It's also a good place to see rare heath and large marsh grasshoppers.

On Dorset Heath it's possible to find all six of our native reptiles, including the rarest - the smooth snake and the sand lizard.

The best time time to find snakes is when they're basking in the hot Summer sun.

The Grass Snake is the longest snake in Britain, growing up to six feet - it's also harmless.

This snake is the only one which lays eggs - other snakes lay live young.

But Dorset Heath is also home to Britain's only poisonous snake - the Adder.

It's easily identified by the 'v' on its head and its striking diamond markings.

There's sometimes a fierce battle between males for the female.

Inside Out watches as two males vie for a female in the reptile equivalent of a bar room brawl.

The heaviest male wins the battle, and the female can expect to breed with him and produce her live young in the Autumn.

These snakes are ready to hunt from the moment they're born.

Sand Lizards

The Sand Lizard is another reptile that loves heathland.

They're known as 'little dragons', but they aren't easy to find, relying on camouflage to avoid being eaten by predators.

April is the best time to see Sand Lizards, when the males are getting ready to mate, turning a fabulous bejewelled green colour for just a few days.

These creatures love this habitat with its sandy heathland and relatively warm climate.

But they're very vulnerable because the heath is becoming more fragmented due to forest fires and the intrusion of roads, which they can't travel across.

Reptile watching

To see these elusive creatures, naturalists put tins down because reptiles love the warmth and protection.

Green Lizard
Bejewelled Green Lizard - splendid heathland creature

You can set your own sun trap using a square piece of flat wood (about 14 inches square) covered with ordinary kitchen foil.

Place this in the sun and come back later.

Lizards need solar radiation to warm themselves up. Tin foil is a good way to attract them.

As the sun warms up the foil, it's the perfect place for a sluggish lizard to come and take in the sun, and get his body temperature up.

But remember don't touch the lizards or interfere with their habitat.

Watch a lizard and snake video

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Sussex follies and Mad Jack

The Tower
Mad Jack's magical tower in the middle of a field

Inside Out looks at some unusual features on the Sussex landscape, and asks if their creator John Fuller was mad or just slightly eccentric?

A pyramid isn't what you'd normally expect to see in an English graveyard.

But this pyramid isn't in Egypt - it's in Brightling, East Sussex.

It's not the tomb of an Egyptian pharaoh, it's the tomb of a Georgian squire - Mad Jack Fuller.

The real Mad Jack

So who was the real Jack Fuller?

Born John Fuller in 1757, Mad Jack was MP for Lewes and incredibly rich.

He got his nickname from the way he spent his money, trying to make sure he was remembered.

Today he is remembered, as 'Mad' Jack.

But how mad was he? To find out, Inside Out has assembled a team of experts:

  • Keith Leech - member of Mad Jack's Morris Dancers.

  • Celia Caulkin - leads walks around Mad Jack's follies.

  • Geoff Hutchinson - he's written a book about Mad Jack.

Sugar Loaf

So was Mad Jack actually mad? Let's look at the evidence!

Keith Leech says that Mad Jack was a very keen gambler.

Keith Leech and Sugar Loaf
Keith Leech stands by Mad Jack's Sugar Loaf

He had a bet that he could see Dallington Church spire from his house. When he got home, he discovered that he couldn't.

Rather than losing the bet, he built the Sugar Loaf.

In Mad Jack's day days sugar used to come in conical shaped containers, hence the nickname.

The important thing about the folly was what it looked like from Jack's house, a mile or so away.

From the horizon, the Sugar Loaf looks like the spire of a church.

It must have cost Jack a small fortune, much more than he would have won on the bet.

Conservationist

Bodiam Castle is an East Sussex landmark, one of the most beautiful castles in the world.

But in Mad Jack's day the castle was in a terrible state, and it was on the verge of being demolished.

The castle's owner was Sir Godfrey Webster. Unlike Fuller he wasn't a rich man.

Bodiam Castle
Bodiam - the castle that Mad Jack saved

Sir Godfrey simply didn't have the money to maintain the castle.

The damage that had been done to it in the civil war had never been repaired, and the whole building was gradually falling into ruin.

So Sir Godfrey decided to auction the castle.

A group of builders from Hastings builders were the favourites to buy it, and demolish it to use the stone from the castle to repair local roads.

The builders would have got away with it too if it hadn't been for Jack Fuller.

Documents show that Jack stepped in and bought the castle, for £3,000, and saved it from the demolition team.

"Whenever I visit Bodiam Castle I always tip my hat to Mad Jack. Subsequent owners of the castle did a huge amount to restore it to the wonderful attraction it is today.

But if it hadn't been for Jack Fuller there wouldn't have been a castle here at all." Geoff Hutchinson.

Tower of dreams

Another of Jack's magical projects was a strange tower which looks like something from a magical kingdom.

Nobody knows exactly why Mad Jack built his tower surrounded by trees in the middle of a field.

Celia Caulkin says that some people say he built it so he could signal to Bodiam Castle.

But in reality you can't even see Bodiam from here.

Maybe he just built if for a bit of fun?

Job creator

Another surviving example of Jack's buildings is a wall extending right the way round Fuller's estate at Brightling Park.

Mad Jack had it built around 1816. The wall is six feet high and it extends for four miles.

Today the wall looks a bit excessive but there was a good ulterior motive for it.

Following the Napoleonic wars there was no employment. So Fuller built a wall around the estate to provide much needed employment at a critical time.

"This was an act of philanthropy, not insanity," says Geoff Hutchinson.

There was clearly method in Jack's act of madness.

The Obelisk

One of Mad Jacks' more bizarre creations is The Obelisk, an impressive folly with no apparent reason behind it.

"Whenever I bring people here, they always ask, why did Fuller build this?", says Celia Caulkin.

"It does look like it's been put up for a reason doesn't it? But it has no inscription on it and Fuller left no explanation for why it was built here."

This is the frustrating thing about Fuller. Just when you've decided he was mad, he does something sane.

And just when you think he's a rational, sensible man, he goes and builds a 65 foot tall needle with no point.

Life saver

In the early 1800's the stretch of coast near Eastbourne was notorious for shipwrecks

In February 1822, Jack Fuller looked out to sea and to his horror he saw a vast 1,500 ton ship which had run aground.

On that day he decided that what this place needed was a lighthouse so Jack built the Belle Toute.

Sadly his wooden lighthouse no longer exists. The second Belle Toute we see today was built on the same location, close to the cliff edge.

The lighthouse was just one example of Jack Fuller's desire to share his wealth and do something to help others.

But despite the good intentions his lighthouse didn't work very well. Up on the cliff top, it couldn't be seen by ships in the mist.

So we've seen the evidence, now we need a verdict. Mad or not mad? What does our panel of experts think?

"Mad. Definitely mad. I don't think we could call ourselves Mildly Eccentric Jack's Morris." Keith Leech.

"Oh no. Not mad. A colourful, fascinating, eccentric."
Celia Caulkin.

"Child of the times. A typical Georgian squire. Larger than life, very generous, very eccentric. And totally sane." Geoff Hutchinson.

So our panel has decided by two to one, that Mad Jack was actually sane. But perhaps he wouldn't mind what we call him, as long as we remember him.
.
He'd probably he'd just be very pleased, lying there under that pyramid, to know that more than 170 years after his death, people are still making a song and dance about him.

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