Wednesday 29 January 2020

‘Hero’ teacher who crashed motorcycle to save cyclists inundated by donations for specialist wheelchair

Chris was paralysed from the waist down after breaking more than 30 bones in the crash
Chris was paralysed from the waist down after breaking more than 30 bones in the crash

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith

A music teacher left paralysed after he swerved to miss a group of cyclists has been inundated with financial support to help buy him a specialist wheelchair.

After setting off from his home in Nottingham, Chris Toon was riding his motorbike towards Melton Mowbray when began slowing down to take a blind bend.

After he hit the brakes, the 32-year-old's back wheel skidded and started to fishtail.

“I was then dragged onto the other side of the road, as soon as I got round the corner there were about 12 cyclists there in front of me so I decided in about a second, because that was all I had, to go into the ditch,” he told the Nottingham Post.

Mr Toon drove his bike over a hedge and into the ditch, dropping 30 feet and breaking his back. The crash punctured both of his lungs and left him with more than 30 broken bones. He was paralysed from the chest down.

Despite his injuries, Mr Toon, who teaches the saxophone and flute at Nottingham High School, told the BBC: “I’d be in a different place if I had hit [the cyclists].

I could have killed two or three of them, I could have ploughed through them all".

His friend Rachel Richardson, described him as a “hero” on a JustGiving page she set up to help raise money for his new wheelchair and to help with his rehabilitation when he leaves the Sheffield Spinal Rehabilitation Unit.

Hundreds of people have already donated, with over £17,000 (€19,000) raised so far.

Mr Toon said the support had been a “boost”.

Ms Richardson meanwhile, said she “never expected” to raise that amount of money. She added that they needed to raise "much more as he will need his house adapting.”

Writing on the JustGiving page, Ms Richardson said her friend “remains remarkably positive".

She added: “He is a great teacher who inspires his pupils, gets results and makes music fun.

"Chris is determined that he will be back to teaching and playing his flute and saxophone as soon as possible."

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