Appeal launched to help firefighter injured on stag do

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A fiancée whose husband-to-be has had to be treated in intensive care in Magaluf after only three hours into his stag do has said she’s been ‘overwhelmed’ by the support the pair have received.

Almost £10,000 has already been raised through an online appeal to support firefighter James Thorpe, who is due to marry his fiancee, Michaela Watson, next week.

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But he is determined his injury will not affect their big day.

Friend Simon Burch, who works alongside James in the fire service in King’s Lynn and who set up the online appeal, said: “His wedding has been his big drive.

“He is determined like you wouldn’t believe. He doesn’t want it to be cancelled which is amazing.”

The appeal is aiming to raise £20,000 towards specialist rehabilitation treatment for James when he returns to Britain.

Simon said: “The support has been quite overwhelming. We have nearly raised £10,000 in three days. I just wanted to make sure James gets the best care possible.”

The injury happened when James, who had only arrived in the resort a few hours earlier, and the five friends he had gone with decided to go for a swim.

Michaela, who flew to the island after hearing of James’ injuries, said: “I just can’t tell you what was going through my mind.”

She said James described the water to her as “knee high” and said that as he had gone to swim he had felt like he had tripped and his hand had given way under him.

Although he had not been able to see his friends, one of them, Ross Pick, went to help him.

She said: “Ross came over there to get him out of the water. If Ross hadn’t done that he would not be here today.”

She said James, realising he had damaged his neck, had used his knowledge as a firefighter and the help of a nurse who was on holiday on the beach to guide his friends on how to keep his neck straight.

He was taken to hospital in Spain where he was placed in intensive care. He has since had an operation to rebuild his seventh vertebrae.

Doctors have also given James the all-clear to return to the UK and it is hoped he will be transferred to a specialist spinal injuries unit in Sheffield.

It is unclear whether James will be left paralysed from his injuries though he is reporting to have feeling in his legs and toes.

The online fundraising page has garnered more than 400 donations in the few days since it was set up.

Mr Burch said: “We’ve had support from all over the world and even an anonymous donation of £1,000.”

“That is amazing. We’re getting donations from people James doesn’t even know. I know thatJames wants to say thank you to everybody for what they are doing.”

Michaela added: “It’s really helping us get through this traumatic time. James has been in tears from the support he’s getting from people.”

The pair have been together four-and-a-half years and have been planning the wedding for the past two years.

Simon added that future fundraising events for James are also in the pipeline thanks to friends and family who will be organising a raffle and donating prizes such as a 7-day break in France.

Charity Tunnels To Towers, which supports “first responders and injured service members”, are also said to be getting involved.

To support James, go to https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/James-thorpe