Gardener loses deafness damages claim

A gardener who claimed he was deafened by years of mowing grass on a country estate has lost his legal bid for £25,000 compensation.

Clifford Sayers, 66, who looked after the grounds at the East Sussex estate of Lady Chelwood for over 20 years, said his tinnitus was triggered by the noise from lawn mowers, chainsaws, strimmers and other power tools used in his job.

He said he lost 45 per cent of his hearing, preventing him from listening to the TV or having normal conversations with his wife. But the Court of Appeal threw out his claim for damages for noise-induced deafness.

Sayers left it too late to sue because Lady Chelwood would not have a fair chance of defending herself after all this time, the court ruled. The deadline for launching a personal-injury compensation case ran out four years before his claim in 2008.

Sayers worked as gardener and forester at the estate near the South Downs from 1981. He lived in a lodge on the estate until he left the job in 2000, according to reports. Sayers was told seven years ago his hearing loss could be age-related.

The case was initially rejected by a county court judge last year for the same reason.

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