From January 2010 I was very fortunate to come across the appealing website of Hartnell Chanot & Partners and to read about Stephen Sowden, a solicitor available to represent grandparents. I was desperate to find a solicitor who could understand the terrible predicament I was enduring. Having previously used another local solicitor who seemed to have no idea how to help me, I lost all hope and faith in ever seeing my precious six year old granddaughter again.
I recall my first meeting with Stephen. My partner, my mother and my sister accompanied me to give me support. Stephen listened intently amongst the floods of tears, he made no judgement and he instantly made us all feel at ease. He explained how difficult it was for grandparents, and what pitfalls lie ahead. He told me to go home, have a think about what I wanted to do and should I wish to proceed to give him a call.
I made that all important call the next day and to this day it was the right decision.
Stephen tried everything possible to help me. Circumstances became more difficult as my granddaughter had now relocated to Northampton. The case had to go to court.
The case was indeed complicated and a very daunting experience. How Stephen coped with me in floods of tears I will never know, but he was always available to talk whether by a phone call, a visit or by email. He guided me every step of the way from the very start to the finish. He was always open and honest and never gave me false hope.
Four hearings took place in Northampton before the case was finally concluded. Stephen went to great lengths to enlist the right Barrister who would be representing me in court. I was very fortunate to have an excellent Solicitor and a Barrister.
To my great relief the final hearing was concluded on February 23rd 2011. It was successful; I owe my gratitude to Stephen Sowden. Without him this would not have been possible for me, I couldn't have done it.
After the hearing the following day, Stephen rang me to say he was genuinely pleased with the outcome. I was elated and exceptionally pleased he did.
Following my first visit of resuming contact with my granddaughter I was amazed Stephen took the time to ring me up and ask how the visit went. He was delighted it went well, and said if I faced anymore problems I could always ring him.
I will continue to highly recommend Stephen Sowden to any other unfortunate grandparents facing the same sad situation. I remain eternally grateful to Stephen and the valuable work he does at Hartnell Chanot & Partners.