Parents face fresh heartbreak

DISTRAUGHT parents of nine-year old cancer victim Shona Gill today face another gruelling battle – they are being sued for cancelling work on their home.

DISTRAUGHT parents of nine-year old cancer victim Shona Gill today face another gruelling battle – they are being sued for cancelling work on their home.

For months hundreds of people have rallied round to raise cash for the Ipswich youngster and her family, who had hoped to send Shona, who was diagnosed with cancer for the second time earlier this year, to America for much-needed treated.

Previous treatment for the condition left her with a damaged hip and her parents Pete and Tracy decided to build a porch to include a downstairs toilet for ease of access.

They contacted Zenith windows who took measurements for two windows and a door and Mr and Mrs Gill signed a contract agreeing to Zenith's terms and conditions.

But when Shona was diagnosed for a second time in March they cancelled the work hoping to send her to America for treatment.

Today parents Pete and Tracy face legal action from Zenith Windows for breaching a contract signed in November for new windows.

Most Read

Mr Gill, 43, said: "Shona became ill so we had to stop everything. We telephoned Zenith and explained to them at the time that Shona was ill.

"We told them we couldn't afford them any longer because all of our money had to be channelled into our daughter because we wanted to take her to the States for treatment."

Zenith responded by sending the couple a letter expressing their sympathy for Shona's condition but stating the windows had been made and the couple were contractually bound to have them fitted.

The letter cited the delivery section of their contract which binds them to accept the fitting within six weeks of the end of the estimated delivery period or pay 80 per cent of the costs – in their case £3,482.

Zenith have now served Mr and Mrs Gill with court papers claiming breach of contract and demanding £3,602 – the price of the contract plus court costs.

Mr Gill, who is a Suffolk police constable, has now written to Norwich County Court disputing the claim.

He said: "I spoke to them at the beginning of April. I said to them surely this is unforeseen circumstances but they said they wouldn't accept that.

"I said I was doing the responsible thing not having them fitted and then defaulting on payment."

Mrs Gill, 38, added: "They asked how much we could afford to pay and we said nothing because we have lost a lot of pay with Shona being ill.

"Then they said they would have to take us to court."

The couple heard nothing further from Zenith until court papers were issued last week.

In that time Shona's condition had deteriorated and Mr and Mrs Gill had had two doors and a window fitted on their Laurelhayes home by an Ipswich company at a reduced price.

A spokesman for Zenith said: "Our position at the moment is that we will complete the court questionnaires and indicate to Mr and Mrs Gill that we are prepared to accept a reduced sum, of 50pc, and that we will still be happy to carry out the installation.

"We would still prefer to settle this amicably and would be happy to discuss any counter proposals that Mr Gill has including him making us aware in more detail of the actual circumstances relating to his daughter which we have not been able to validate and which could help us to be more accommodating."

Mr Gill says he has had no formal offer of having the windows fitted at half the cost, but would not be prepared to accept the offer anyway.

He said: "We are not doing this because of the money but because there are other vulnerable people out there."