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Virgin Atlantic pays damages to massage therapists

Two former beauty therapists who developed repetitive strain injuries through giving massages to air travellers have won a total of £300,430 damages from Virgin Atlantic.

Jayne Evans and Michelle Hindmarch worked in the Clubhouse Lounge at Heathrow, giving frequent prolonged treatments, until they developed pain in their wrists, shoulders and backs.

They had to give up their careers, which gave them great job satisfaction and for which they had trained since they left school, and find other work, as well as get help with daily tasks around their homes.

Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd accepted liability but disputed the amount of compensation due.

Mrs Evans, 40, of Ruislip, Middlesex, was awarded £230,972 by Judge Martin McKenna today at London's High Court.

He said she was entitled to consider she had achieved professional success in her chosen field but now had less congenial and well-paid clerical work in the airline's cargo division.

Mrs Hindmarch, 32, of Banstead, Surrey, who quickly found better-paid work in a different field, was awarded £69,458.

The judge said she was "a woman of determination and fortitude who was making the best of her situation" and dismissed a suggestion that she was exaggerating her symptoms.