Council bosses admitted the blame for a groundsman suffering “immense pain” after falling over while on the job.

John Brown, from Mitcham, won £11,000 compensation from Merton Council after tripping on a piece of protruding concrete in Morden recreation ground, which forced him to walk with a stick for five months.

The 65-year-old, who, in an unrelated turn of events had cancer diagnosed shortly after the fall, took voluntary redundancy and said he still suffered from pain despite surgery being done on the torn ligaments in his right knee.

Mr Brown said: “When I tripped, I felt my knee go immediately, I was rolling on the floor in agony. The pain was immense.

“My initial thought was that I might be off work for a couple of days, but in fact I needed surgery and the recovery was very slow.

“When I had cancer diagnosed I took voluntary redundancy but I doubt that, being unable to kneel, I would have been able to return to my role as groundsman in any case. 

“The trade union has been fantastic in supporting me through this.

"If they had not made the point to me that it was not my fault and that I could get compensation for all I went through I would never have thought about it.”

Mr Brown, who had worked for Merton Council for 10 years, was unloading his work truck and placing tools in the park’s shed when he tore the ligaments in his knee.

His union, Unison, rebuked the council, which settled Mr Brown’s claim in an out-of-court settlement.

Linda Perks said: “Mr Brown was a loyal employee who was sadly injured because his bosses failed to sort out a known problem in a pathway that he and other colleagues used to carrying equipment to and from a tool shed.

“Making sure tripping hazards are fixed is so basic, yet the consequences of not doing so can be huge for individuals and employers.”

A Merton Council spokesman said: “This was an unfortunate accident and we will ensure the approach to the ramp is clearly marked.”

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