Havant pensioner feared he would die of a heart attack after Guinness Partnership botch-job flooded his home

A PENSIONER with a history of heart problems feared he could have been killed by stress after a botched maintenance job flooded his home.

Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 3:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 4:54 pm
Raymond Branson, right, and the damage to his home after the flood. Picture: Sarah Standing

Widower Raymond Branson wants compensation from the Guinness Partnership after its engineers failed to isolate his Havant property’s immersion tank during a visit five weeks ago. 

The oversight left water seeping through his electrics, made his carpets ‘sopping wet’ and caused the ceiling paper and wallpaper in his lounge to fall away. 

But while the 73-year-old was put up in the Travelodge at Rowland's Castle from January 22 until last week, he says the temporary move at Guinness’ expense has done little to calm his grave worries for his health and home. 

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Raymond Branson, right, and the damage to his home after the flood. Picture: Sarah Standing

‘I thought this was the end and I still don’t think I’m going to pull through it now,’ he said.

‘I had a heart attack in 2003 but because I keep getting pitched up – and I have been very, very stressed – I’ve been worried stiff I’m going to have another one. 

‘On top of that I’ve got emphysema, asthma, arthritis and I’ve also got a leaky heart valve and a hernia in my stomach. I’m in such a bad way with my health.' 

Mr Branson has lived alone in his Mitchell Road property since February, 2015 after his wife of 24 years, Marrion, died aged 84. 

Raymond Branson's living room after his property was badly damaged by floodwater from his immersion tank

At odds with Environmental Health’s recent declaration his home is fit to live in, he has been seeking arrangements to permanently downsize to a property on Hayling Island. 

But after two friends helped him pack up all his belongings, his hopes were shattered last Wednesday – when he was told by the Southern Housing Group he would not be allowed to take his one-year-old shih tzu, Pebbles, to the West Town home he had been eyeing up. 

‘I was told before it wouldn’t be a problem,' said Mr Branson.

‘But I got a call to say I wasn't allowed to take the dog the day before I was supposed to visit the property and decide if I wanted to sign the contract.’ 

Raymond Branson in his Havant property - after Environmental Health said it was fit to live in again. Picture: Sarah Standing (180219-9448)

He has now extended a desperate plea to The Guinness Partnership asking for payback. 

‘I want them to take responsibility for their actions,' he said. 

‘I’m not asking for things just because I want money, but they should compensate me because of my ill health and going through stress.

‘I lost all my food after the flood because when the workman came in to do the job he took the freezer out – there was a plug over the other side of the room. 

‘I’ve lost £70 to £100 of food and for me that is an awful lot of money.’ 

He added: ‘I don't want to see this happen to anybody else.' 

A spokeswoman from the Guinness Partnership said: ‘We would like to apologise to Mr Branson for the difficulties caused by works we have undertaken.

‘Complications with the repairs meant Mr Branson needed to be housed in temporary accommodation for longer than we had hoped.

‘Mr Branson has moved back home and we are now re-carpeting and decorating his lounge.’

To tackle existing moisture in the walls and ceiling, The Guinness Partnership took dehumidifiers to Mr Branson’s property on Friday.