South West Wales

Injured scout leader Robert Wilson wins £167,000 damages against Clyne Farm Centre

A scout leader who fractured his spine on a cross country assault course at a centre near Swansea has won £167,514 damages.

Robert Wilson, 49, from Borden, Hampshire, fell on his bottom after sliding down a fireman's pole during a week's camp at Clyne Farm.

The injury happened in August 2009.

A London High Court judge allowed his claim against chartered structural engineer Geoff Haden, trading as Clyne Farm Centre, who denied liability.

Mr Wilson was injured on an obstacle called Burma Bridge at the centre.

The court heard Mr Wilson suffered great pain from the injury to his first lumbar vertebra which needed surgery. He was in a spinal brace for six months.


The discomfort affected his work as a taxi driver and made it difficult to help his disabled wife.

Mr Haden, who devised the course with the assistance of a former army assault course instructor, told the court that over 20 years about 300,000 people - half of them children - had used the course with no similar accident.

His lawyers claimed that Mr Wilson was the author of his own misfortune.

The judge Mrs Justice Swift said the accident probably happened because Mr Wilson failed to appreciate the importance of wrapping his legs firmly around the pole immediately he launched himself onto it.

She added that as the course instructor concluded that the technique was so obvious that no demonstration was necessary, it was vital she should at least give clear and specific instructions about how to negotiate the pole, so as to control the speed of descent - but she did not.

"I consider that those circumstances gave rise to a breach of duty which on a balance of probabilities was causative of the claimant's accident," she said.

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