A talented army chef whose career in catering both in and out of the army was ruined due to being provided with inadequate equipment has received £150,000 in compensation from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Hopewell Marindire from Kettering, was discharged after developing a non freezing cold injury which caused numbness, tissue damage, long term pain and permanent intolerance to the cold. He developed the debilitating condition after working in temperatures as low as minus 14 Celsius at Sennerlager training camp in Germany in 2005.

The Zimbabwean-born Private was given only cotton socks and standard issue leather army boots despite it being well known to the MoD that persons of African origin are particularly susceptible to cold injury.

Pain worsened over time

Mr Marindire developed pain and tingling in his feet which has progressively worsened over time. The pain in his feet became so bad that he was unable, after his diagnosis with a cold weather injury, to even cope with being reassigned to work as a chef in the officers mess. He was medically discharged in 2007.

Prior to becoming injured Mr Marindire had hoped to serve in the army for 22 years but only managed seven years. After his army career he had planned to open his own restaurant but has been unable to pursue that dream due to his injuries. Instead he is now training to become an audiologist.

After his discharge he contacted the British Legion for advice. The legion instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Should have been provided with adequate protection

Thompsons argued he should have been provided with adequate protection to avoid the onset of his condition and was able to secure a settlement out of court after the MoD admitted it was 75% responsible for the injuries.

Diane Davison from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Mr Marindire was a hard working recruit with glowing reports. There was every reason to assume that he would have climbed up the ranks to achieve an impressive army career. Instead he has been forced out early and even had to give up on running his own restaurant because of his injuries. The Army, like any other employer, should make sure employees are given appropriate equipment for the task in hand.”