The summer holidays are soon upon us. No doubt the child arrangements were agreed some time ago, and the intention is those arrangements go to plan.

However, you may have experienced difficulties in previous summer holidays and if you’re worried about the forthcoming arrangements for the summer break, it’s advisable to seek urgent advice from a specialist family law solicitor before it is too late.

Any arrangements for children should be agreed between the parents on the basis that both share parental responsibilities, so any decisions should be made jointly. In some situations, parents may find it difficult to comply with the arrangements.

In some cases, it can be justified, but in others it may not. Instead of focusing on children, one parent may be focused on unresolved adult issues which shouldn’t be part of the discussions regarding arrangements for the children.

The preference is for an informal agreement but, in some cases, a written agreement may be preferable so both parties are clear on the arrangements.

If difficulties remain, it may be necessary to seek advice from a solicitor, consider other avenues for dispute resolution (such as mediation or arbitration) and in the worst-case scenario, a court application may need to be made.

This will ensure clarity on the arrangements and most importantly, ensure stability for the children, who should know when they are spending time with each parent.

A Child Arrangement Order can also ensure any arrangements fit in with the children’s existing routines, as well as the time they spend with their own friends.

If you have any anxieties about the arrangements with your ex-partner, or worry they may not comply with the agreement, you must get in touch with a specialist family law solicitor. They will be able to guide you on the next best steps available.

The paramount consideration is always the welfare of the children and what is in their best interests. So, when negotiating arrangements for the children, this must be the focus, rather than the preference of either parent.

If the agreement is clear, child-focused, and provides stability and security for the children, then everyone should look forward to the forthcoming summer holidays.

For more information on Blythe Liggins, call 01926 831231 or visit www.blytheliggins.co.uk.

CAPTION: Sophia Mellor, head of family law at Blythe Liggins Solicitors, Leamington Spa.

Thousands of runners took part in one of Warwickshire’s biggest sporting spectacles, the Two Castles Run, at the weekend.

It was the first time the event, once again sponsored by Leamington law firm Blythe Liggins Solicitors, has been fully booked since the pandemic and runners were rewarded with almost perfect conditions.

Bumper crowds also enjoyed the 40th staging of the renowned run between Warwick and Kenilworth castles on Sunday (June 9) which, once again, lived up to its billing as one of the leading 10k runs in the country.

This year’s race, which had 4,500 places available, was organised by Kenilworth Runners in conjunction with Kenilworth Rotary and Leamington Cycling and Athletics Club.

Race organiser, Richard Clarke from Kenilworth Runners, said: “It was an impressive field of runners and befitting the Two Castles Run as it celebrates its 40th anniversary.

“Seeing so many competitors trying their best was a fantastic spectacle and was matched by the support they were given by crowds along the route.”

Callum Hanlon (Leamington Cycling and Athletics Club) was first past the finishing line for the third year in a row, this time finishing in 31m 39s. In second place was Ian Allen (Spa Striders) who finished in 32m 01s, while Andrew Lawrence (Stratford upon Avon AC) came third finishing in 32m 18s.

Olivia Bailey (Nuneaton Harriers) was the first woman home in a time of 38m 42s, while second place was claimed by Zara Hadfield (Leamington Cycling and Athletics Club) who completed the course in 40m 07s. Lotta Crofts (Kenilworth Runners) completed the top three with a time of 40m 47s.

It was the 19th year Blythe Liggins was the event’s headline sponsor, with the firm also fielding a squad of 15 runners, as well as providing water station helpers.

Donna Bothamley, head of wills and probate at sponsors Blythe Liggins Solicitors, said: “The Two Castles Run just gets better and better.

“It was a very large of field of runners, which provided great viewing for those who came out to watch and support.

“More importantly though, such a high number of competitors bodes well for the fundraising efforts that helps charities in the local area and further afield.”

The Two Castles Run is staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers and annually raises thousands of pounds for local and national charities.

To see the full results of the Two Castles, visit www.dbmax.co.uk/results.

For more information on Blythe Liggins, call 01926 831231 or visit www.blytheliggins.co.uk

CAPTION:

  • David Lester, senior partner at Blythe Liggins, Alan Chalmers, Mayor of Kenilworth, David Morgan, President of Kenilworth Rotary, Olivia Bailey, 1st placed female, Callum Hanlon, 1st placed male

Four-and-a-half-thousand runners will be tackling the famous Two Castles Run this weekend – the first time it’s been fully booked since the pandemic.

The popular annual fundraising run will see participants tackle the 10km course between Warwick Castle and Kenilworth Castle on Sunday, June 9, and is once again sponsored by Leamington Spa solicitors Blythe Liggins.

The Two Castles Run, which attracts entrants from all over the country and is celebrating 40 years in 2024, is organised by the Kenilworth Runners in conjunction with Kenilworth Rotary and Leamington Cycling and Athletics Club.

Donna Bothamley, head of wills and probate at Blythe Liggins Solicitors, said: “We’re delighted that all the places for the Two Castles Run have been filled and it’s going to be spectacular seeing thousands of runners on the roads of Warwickshire.

“Such a high number of entrants also bodes well for the numerous charities that benefit from the terrific fundraising efforts of the competitors.”

Richard Clarke, race director from the Kenilworth Runners, said: “It’s going to be a fantastic turnout for the 2024 Two Castles Run as it appears that the appeal of running between two of England’s final castles is stronger than ever.

“Our respect and thanks go to all the competitors and, just as importantly, to all those who will be helping on the day to make the event possible.”

To learn more about the 2024 Two Castles Run, visit www.twocastlesrun.org.uk.

For more information on Blythe Liggins, call 01926 831231 or visit www.blytheliggins.co.uk.

CAPTION: The Two Castles Run, sponsored by Blythe Liggins, takes place on Sunday, June 9.

A mum from Rugby has held a fundraiser in memory of her daughter and raised over £8,000 for the charity which supported her family in its time of need.

Lois Zapasnik’s three-year-old daughter Elsa suffered from a rare genetic mutation that created profound disabilities and which ended her life far too soon, in summer 2023.

Lois is determined to do as much as possible for Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice in Coventry, where she has also become a trustee, so organised the fun-packed spring fete in Rugby which included classic games such as hook a duck and tin can alley.

There was arts and crafts for the children to take part in, face painting, a Shetland pony, performances from SCDC dance school in Rugby and cheerleaders from JNB in Stratford, along with a surprise appearance from a real life Princess Elsa.

Lois, who is a solicitor at Blythe Liggins in Leamington Spa where she is known by her maiden name Harrison, said: “Zoe’s Place provided invaluable support to Elsa and our family when we needed it most, and I will be forever grateful.

“In return, I hope to help Zoe’s Place in any way I can. The spring fete was a great success and my heartfelt thanks go to all those who made it possible and the many people who came along and supported it, while having a fun time.

“It has raised more than I expected and I hope to organise another one in the future.”

Zoe’s Place, which also has baby hospices in Liverpool and Middlesbrough, cares for babies and young children with life-limiting, life-threatening or complex conditions.

It is a registered charity and all its care is provided free of charge to families who need it. It could not carry out its work without the support of local friends, communities and businesses who raise funds in many different ways.

Lois added: “Elsa was an incredible little girl and we will always be proud of our little fighter.

“When we needed support, Zoe’s Place provided it in so many ways, such as looking after Elsa for respite overnight stays, which allowed us to catch up on some much-needed sleep.

“She also had a wonderful time at Zoe’s Place, engaging in activities that would not have been accessible to her anywhere else.

“The team at Zoe’s Place became part of our family and treated Elsa like their own. I will continue to help raise funds, and the profile, of Zoe’s Place, so more families like ours can benefit from their incredible work and to carry on the legacy Elsa created.”

For more information about Zoe’s Place, visit www.zoes-place.org.uk.

CAPTION: Lois Harrison, Solicitor at Blythe Liggins organises fundraiser spring fete in memory of her daughter.

Registrations for the 2024 Two Castles Run are fast approaching the finish line with less than a hundred places still available.

There were originally 4,500 places up for grabs, but race organisers have already received the highest number of registrations since Covid-19, leaving only a handful of places to be had.

The unique annual fundraising run, which is once again sponsored by Leamington Spa solicitors Blythe Liggins, will see participants tackle the 10km course between Warwick Castle and Kenilworth Castle on Sunday, June 9.

The race entry for the 2024 Two Castles Run is £29 for England Athletics-affiliated runners or £31 for unaffiliated runners, and a T-shirt and medal are included for finishers.

Donna Bothamley, head of wills and probate at Blythe Liggins Solicitors, said: “It’s great to see that the appeal of the Two Castles Run is as strong as ever.

“I would urge anyone interested in competing to register as soon as possible as it would be a shame for anyone to miss out.

“It’s also a milestone year for the Two Castles Run as it celebrates 40 years and Blythe Liggins is thrilled to be continuing our long-running support of the event.”

The Two Castles Run is organised by the Kenilworth Runners in conjunction with Kenilworth Rotary and Leamington Cycling and Athletics Club.

It is a flagship fundraising event which attracts competitors from all over the country.

Richard Clarke, race director from the Kenilworth Runners, said: “We’re delighted with the high level of registrations that this year’s Two Castles run is seeing.

“It’s possibly one of the most beautiful 10km runs in the country, not least thanks to the spectacular settings of the start and finish lines.

“It’s also a fantastic community event that helps charities in the local area and further afield, so having this many registrations bodes well.”

To learn more about the 2024 Two Castles Run, visit www.twocastlesrun.org.uk, while to register, visit race-nation.co.uk/register/the-two-castles-run/twocastlesrun2024

CAPTION: The 2023 team of runners from title sponsor Blythe Liggins.

Blythe Liggins, a well-known Leamington law firm, has been further strengthened as two team members take big steps on their career paths.

Loren Coles has progressed to trainee solicitor, while Sophie Jackson has qualified as an associate solicitor specialising in family law, at Blythe Liggins Solicitors.

Loren, who has previously worked as a paralegal and legal assistant, as well as volunteering in a local county court as a litigant in person, will now undergo a period of recognised training at Blythe Liggins so she can qualify as a solicitor.

Loren said: “I’m looking forward to gaining practical experience in different departments, providing me with ample opportunities to enhance my legal skills and find my area of interest.

“I’m also privileged to be working so closely with experienced professionals within the firm, who I can learn from and gain valuable insight into their expertise.”

Among Loren’s ambitions are developing her legal research while building relationships with clients. She also hopes to have a bigger role in Blythe Liggins’ charitable work to help benefit the local community.

Sophie started her career as a commercial litigation paralegal and joined Blythe Liggins in 2022, where she started her training in wills and probate, but then moved to the family law team where she has gained most of her experience.

Sophie said: “As the first person in my family to attend university, it has shown me that anything is possible when you put your mind to it.

“At Blythe Liggins, I enjoy being the point of call for my clients and being the person who they can turn to and rely upon.

“I will continue to ensure I achieve the best possible outcome for all of my clients.”

Outside of work, Loren enjoys paddleboarding, spending time outdoors and going on hikes, while Sophie also loves the outdoors, including exploring and identifying nature’s wonders.

CAPTION: Sophie Jackson (left) and Loren Coles from Blythe Liggins Solicitors in Leamington Spa have taken important steps on their career paths.

 

A litigation executive is retiring 44 years after first stepping through the doors at a well-known Warwickshire law firm.

Darryl Barnes started working for Blythe, Owen George & Co. Solicitors, now known as Blythe Liggins, in Leamington Spa in January 1980, a time when Margaret Thatcher was still a relatively new Prime Minister and ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ by Pink Floyd was top of the music charts.

However, it could have been a very different story for Darryl’s long-spanning career as he was late for work on his very first day due to car problems. At that time, the offices were in Clarendon Place but moved to Rugby Road in 1993.

Despite this minor mechanical setback, Darryl has progressed within Blythe Liggins into more senior roles which has seen his career mainly focused on litigation, together with an early spell in accounts.

He believes his length of time at what became Blythe Liggins is because it has always kept a warm and welcoming environment for clients, as well as staff,  in addition to being a great place to work.

Darryl, whose career highlight was assisting in the firm’s success in winning a substantial case at the Court of Appeal in London in the 1990s, said: “I never dreamt, as I am sure nobody would when starting a new chapter in their career at a rather more spritely 21 years of age, that when I joined Blythe Liggins way back in 1980 that I would still be here 44 years later. It is not something you see much of these days.

“However, the time is right to retire and I will miss the comradery of so very many colleagues and the often good humour of so many clients with whom I’ve enjoyed working with over the years.

“I don’t know how I’ll react to retirement. There is much to do and much to learn. If I have the time, whilst I know my wife will have many other plans and ideas, I expect to be coming back and knocking on the doors at Blythe Liggins to say hello as it has been such a large part of my life!”

Darryl is a keen motorsport spectator and also enjoys the great outdoors, two areas he intends to experience more in retirement.

David Lester, senior partner at Blythe Liggins, said: “Darryl is a credit to the legal profession and a credit to Blythe Liggins.

“We’ve been very fortunate that he’s dedicated the vast majority of his extensive legal career to us and our clients.

“His commitment and loyalty have been second-to-none and we wish him, and his wife, a very enjoyable, and lengthy, retirement together.”

CAPTION: Left to right: David Lester (senior partner at Blythe Liggins), Darryl Barnes, Jagdeep Sandher (head of dispute resolution at Blythe Liggins).

A Warwickshire personal injury solicitor has expressed her frustration at a report into a devastating Leamington factory fire being delayed yet again, meaning it is unlikely to be published much before the third anniversary of the fatal blaze.

The fire at Leeson Polyurethanes Ltd on 27 August 2021 led to employee David Boswell losing his life and many more being deeply affected.

The report was originally due for completion in December 2022 but further delays mean that it will not be ready until May 2024 at the earliest, with the HSE advising that even this date is not set in stone.

Claire Kirwan, a partner and head of the personal injury department at Blythe Liggins, who is bringing civil claims on behalf of some of those affected by the fire, said: “It could now be almost three years since the fire before we get the answers we desperately need.

“This also means further ongoing uncertainty for those affected by the fire. Notwithstanding the complexities of the matter, it does seem to be taking an incredibly long time.”

It is understood that the delays are due to a variety of reasons, the main one being that the investigation team haven’t addressed all of the issues required. They have had to carry out further enquiries as a result and an additional specialist was appointed as late as October 2023.

Claire added: “I fully appreciate all processes must be adhered to, but it is very disappointing that we are facing yet another delay to the report’s publication.

“Once again, I would urge the HSE to treat this report with urgency so that we can start to bring closure for those that were affected so badly and continue to be affected.”

Claire, who has appeared on BBC Watchdog and Legal TV throughout her career, will continue to push for answers for her clients.

Caption: Claire Kirwan, Partner and Head of Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence

Registration for the 2024 Two Castles Run is now open as the popular event also waves goodbye and says thank you to a legendary figure.

The unique annual fundraising run, which is once again sponsored by Leamington Spa solicitors Blythe Liggins and is celebrating 40 successful years, will see participants tackle the 10km course between Warwick Castle and Kenilworth Castle on Sunday, June 9.

It is also going to be the first race in 18 years where Rotarian Philip Southwell has not been at the helm, as he has retired from organising the event after nearly two decades in charge.

Philip, who believes the time is right for other people to take the lead, said: “There were 800 entrants when I first took charge and now there are around 4,000.

“It’s turned into a very successful event and has raised well over £1 million pounds for good causes just over the last 10 years or so.

“This year will be the first time I’ve missed the Two Castles Run in more than two decades as I’m going on holiday. My wife and I celebrate our wedding anniversary in June, so it’s been a very long time since we’ve been away together at this time of year due to obvious reasons, but I think I can go on holiday this year!”

The race entry for the 2024 Two Castles Run is £29 for England Athletics affiliated runners or £31 for unaffiliated runners, and a T-shirt and medal are included for finishers.

Donna Bothamley, head of wills and probate at Blythe Liggins Solicitors, said: “Our thanks go to Philip who has been instrumental in turning the Two Castles Run into a fantastic event which always draws in participants from far and wide. He’s done an amazing job and thoroughly deserves his retirement.

“Blythe Liggins is delighted to be continuing our long-running support of the run once again this year as it celebrates 40 years and we’re hoping to see as many people as possible taking part.”

The Two Castles Run is organised by the Kenilworth Runners in conjunction with Kenilworth Rotary and Leamington Cycling and Athletics Club.

It is a flagship fund-raising event which attracts competitors from all over the country. This year, there are 4,500 places available.

Richard Clarke, race director from the Kenilworth Runners, said: “The Two Castles Run is a great community event that benefits charities in the local area and beyond.”

To learn more about the 2024 Two Castles Run, visit www.twocastlesrun.org.uk, while to register, visit race-nation.co.uk/register/the-two-castles-run/twocastlesrun2024.

CAPTION: Richard Clarke from Kenilworth Runners, Philip Southwell and Donna Bothamley from Blythe Liggins Solicitors.

A mum from Rugby who lost her daughter last year has become a trustee at Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice in Coventry, which did so much for her family in their time of need.

Lois Zapasnik’s three-year-old daughter Elsa suffered from a rare genetic mutation that created profound disabilities and which ended her life far too soon.

In a fitting tribute to her daughter, Lois has become a Trustee at Zoe’s Place to help other children and families like hers.

Lois, who is a Solicitor at Leamington Spa solicitors Blythe Liggins where she is known by her maiden name Harrison, said: “We lost our beautiful daughter Elsa last summer. She was an incredibly special little girl who touched so many lives and we are beyond proud of our little fighter.

“Zoe’s Place provided us with huge support in many ways. The amazing team looked after Elsa for respite overnight stays, which gave us a chance to catch up on some much-needed sleep.

“She also had the best time at Zoe’s Place, taking part in activities that would not have been accessible to her anywhere else.

“I wanted to do something to thank Zoe’s Place, and also to help other families like ours, which is why I’ve become the first bereaved parent trustee at Zoe’s Place.”

Zoe’s Place, which also has baby hospices in Liverpool and Middlesbrough, cares for babies and young children with life-limiting, life-threatening or complex conditions.

It is a registered charity and it is proud that all of its care is free of charge to families who need it. It could not do its work without the support of local friends, communities and businesses who raise funds in many different ways.

Lois added: “The team at Zoe’s Place became an extension of our family and treated Elsa like their own. Their help was huge to us, so I hope I can help raise funds, and the profile, of Zoe’s Place, so more families like ours can benefit from their incredible work.”

For more information about Zoe’s Place, visit www.zoes-place.org.uk.

 

CAPTION: Elsa at Zoe’s Place