Parents could sue petting farm after 20 people fell ill after visit over Easter

Georgia Powell
Georgia Powell, four, was struck down with severe sickness and diarrhoea after going in the pens - Irwin Mitchell/SWNS

Parents are considering legal action after 20 people including a one-year-old child fell ill at a petting farm.

People were hospitalised with sickness and diarrhoea symptoms after visiting Gannow Farm in Redditch, Worcestershire, over Easter 2024.

They were believed to have contracted an animal parasite called cryptosporidium after parents reported there was “faeces everywhere” at the farm.

The farm has since closed for the rest of 2024’s visiting season and is being investigated by the UK Health Security Agency.

Georgia Powell, four, has been unable to return to nursery after being struck down with severe sickness and diarrhoea.

She visited the petting farm, which offers cuddles with lambs and calves, with her mother Michelle on April 1 2024.

‘There were too many people’

Mrs Powell, 41, said: “Easter Monday was meant to be a fun day out for Georgia to see the farm animals. I never dreamt it could turn into such a nightmare.

“To see your four-year-old so sick was devastating.”

Mrs Powell said she noticed issues with the farm on arrival.

She said: “It was obviously busy that day and I thought at the time there were too many people for each slot with the animals and not a lot of supervision.

“The lambs looked lethargic and unwell compared to previous visits and their faeces were everywhere, including the bails of hay set out for sitting on.

“There were so many in those pens that day that I’m not surprised to hear we’re not alone in having fallen sick.”

Darcie and Sienna-Mai Southern
Darcie, three, with Sienna-Mai Southern, nine, who was admitted to Birmingham Children's hospital - Irwin Mitchell/SWNS

Mrs Powell is one of several affected people who are being supported by Irwin Mitchell law firm.

Another is Danielle Southern whose daughters Sienna-Mai, nine, and Darcie, three, both fell ill after visiting on April 2.

Sienna-Mai was admitted to Birmingham Children’s hospital to be treated with anti-sickness and rehydration medication.

Ms Southern said: “This was one family day out we’ll always remember for all the wrong reasons.

“When the girls fell ill it was a huge concern and we’re all continuing to live with the effects weeks later.”

Infection can prove fatal

Jatinder Paul, specialist public health lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who is supporting the families, urged anyone else affected to contact her.

She said: “Parasitic infections like cryptosporidium can be very serious, particularly for the most vulnerable such as older adults or young children and in some cases can prove fatal.”

In a Facebook post, the farm said: “We at Gannow Farm take the welfare of our visitors very seriously and for that reason we have decided to close for the remainder of the 2024 Farm Experience.

“This is a decision taken by the team and not by governing bodies, however we are working closely with them as always.

“All bookings for April 13th, 14th, 20th and 21st will be fully refunded, please bear with us while we work through this difficult time.

“We would like to wish anyone that is poorly a speedy recovery.”