The mother of a young footballer severely injured in a horrific car crash has praised the “amazing” people who have rallied round to help prepare for his eventual homecoming.
Paul Turnbull sustained severe injuries including catastrophic brain injuries, a broken neck and a punctured lung in an accident on the moors above Meltham in March, 2015.
More than two years later, Paul remains under treatment and is currently being cared for at a rehabilitation centre at Salford Hospital.
Now family, friends and local businesses have joined forces to carry out adaptations to Paul’s home to make it wheelchair accessible – with the hope that he will be able to be home for his 28th birthday on November 25.
The work costing thousands of pounds has included widening and tarmacing the steep, narrow path leading down to the family’s 19th century cottage at West Slaithwaite to allow a car to get closer to the house and widening the doorway to allow wheelchair access.
Paul’s mum, Kate Turnbull, said: “The path to the house was steep and bumpy. You couldn’t push a wheelchair down it. I tried to push a wheelchair uphill, but I couldn’t manage it – I was huffing and puffing.
“We had the existing path widened and tarmaced which allows us to bring the car straight down to the house.
“We had to get the door widened to allow the wheelchair to get in, which meant fitting the door to open outwards. That was quite a job because of the lintels.”
Tradespeople provided materials and labour at cost or for free. She said: “There are an awful lot of people who have contributed, either by supplying materials and carrying out the work or making donations.”
Paul, who played for Walkers Hounds FC, was in a coma following the crash. Since regaining consciousness, he has made only slow progress in his recovery and is being treated with drugs and receiving physiotherapy.
Kate, who makes the 60-mile round trip to see her son every day, said: “We are hoping Paul will be discharged fairly soon, but he is a long way off coming home. We are hoping he can come home for his birthday and planning on getting him home for visits or overnights stays.”
Local organisations have been helping to raise funds for part of Paul’s treatment and Kate’s travel costs with events including a silent auction and race night.
Fundraisers include friends at Pole Moor Riding Club, Sainsbury’s – where Paul used to work – and his old school Honley High School. A host of Colne Valley businesses have also donated items for auction.
Said Kate: “People have stopped me in the street, pressed money into my hand and said ‘put that in the pot’. Where we live, there is a very strong community. The amount of support we have had has been unbelievable. It’s a lovely place to live and the people are amazing.”