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Friends raise cash to help the family of biker injured in motorbike crash at Fiveways roundabout

Friends of a Lakenheath man who has spent his life helping other people have rallied round to raise money for him and his family after he was seriously injured in a road accident.

Wayne Watson, 56, was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital after he was knocked off his motorbike in a collision with a car just off the Fiveways roundabout at Barton Mills on August 10. The impetus of the crash threw him into the air and he hit a road sign, leaving him paralysed from the neck down because of serious bruising and swelling to his spine. He is able to speak occasionally when a special tube is attached to his tracheotomy.

He is waiting for a bed at a specialist rehabilitation centre in Sheffield where his fiancee Emily Power, stepson 14-year-old Kyle and his many friends hope he may be helped to walk again.

Wayne Watson enjoys a hospital visit from stepson Kyle
Wayne Watson enjoys a hospital visit from stepson Kyle

“It is just a waiting game at the moment,” said Emily. “The doctors can’t tell us what the outcome will be but when the bruising has gone down we are hoping there will be a real improvement.”

Also put on hold is the couple’s wedding, which was planned for next May. “It’s had a huge impact on our whole family. It’s hard but we have to deal with it,” said Emily. “It’s nice to know people care – the support we have had has been overwhelming.”

Wayne is well-known around Mildenhall, Lakenheath, West Row and Beck Row for many acts of kindness. A self-employed gardener, he often helps pensioners with their gardens free of charge and has taken groceries to people who are finding it hard to make ends meet.

For 30 years Wayne ran a gardening workshop for three days a week for autistic adults in residential care at Middlefield Mano,r in Barton Mills. When the centre was closed, Wayne and Emily fostered one of the residents for a year and, although that arrangement has now ended, the man still works with Wayne. The couple have also raised money for the National Autistic Society by running charity 70s nights, with money also going to Macmillan Cancer Care.

Now Emily has given up her job at a West Row pre-school to spend up to 10 hours a day at Wayne’s bedside, the family has lost its income, but the community has stepped in to help.

Family friend Wendy Chipping has organised a sell-out benefit night for Wayne at Mildenhall Social Club later this month with another event planned for December and more in the pipeline for next year.

Wendy, who can be contacted on 07596486504, has appealed for raffle prizes including vouchers for pub meals or days out. She said: “If Wayne heard that someone needed help and he could do it, he would do it and people now want to do whatever they can to help him and Emily - it feels like karma.”