Frank Delaney, a former grammar school head science lab technician from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, has secured compensation after slipping and falling on water in the entrance to the Friars Square Shopping Centre.

The force of the fall meant that Frank sustained a badly broken right humerus and needed four operations to help repair the injury. It was only after his fall that the shopping centre’s staff mopped up the liquid.

Frank, now 86 years old, was taken to hospital in an ambulance and underwent surgery two weeks later to screw his bone back together. However, the bone failed to knit properly and Frank went on to develop a bone infection in his injured upper arm, which meant he needed a further three more painful operations over the course of two years.

Eventually he was referred to an orthopaedic specialist at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford. Between operations, Frank was in a sling for seven months, during which time he was in great pain and his movement was so restricted he needed help from his wife to get dressed.

Even now, more than four years after the fall, he still experiences occasional pain and finds certain manual tasks difficult.

Frank, retired for 22 years, has been a long-standing UNISON member and was able to benefit from his union’s free legal service, which helps members even after they have stopped working. UNISON referred him to personal injury specialists, Thompsons Solicitors.

Thompsons was able to prove that managers of Friars Square Shopping Centre were at fault for his injury.

Reflecting on his experience, Frank said: “I am still upset with the shopping centre management. The years of surgery and pain could have easily been avoided if there had been a sign to warn me about the water.

“I was fit and active, I have played squash most of my life. Me and my wife used to enjoy going to watch horse racing but my injury meant it was more difficult to drive to races and being in crowds meant I ran the risk of someone accidently knocking into my arm and causing me more pain.

“I hope that my experience means Friars Square management take issues of health and safety much more seriously.”

Phil Wood, from UNISON, said: “Frank shouldn’t have had to spend such a lengthy period in his hard-earned retirement in and out of hospital, and as a fit an active man this had a significant impact on his life for several years.

“Frank’s case is an example of the value of being a member of UNISON, which provides a free legal service for members even after they retire.”

Dominque Garland, the solicitor who represented Frank, said: “At Thompsons we see all too many of these kinds of avoidable slip injuries. There really is no excuse for a shopping centre or any other public building to fail to keep all areas safe. Even putting up a warning sign would have helped. Thankfully, the shopping centre quickly acknowledged its failures and agreed a settlement.”