Parents speak of bedside vigil

THE parents of a teenage girl left fighting for her life after she was thrown through a brick wall in a horrific road accident have been given a glimmer of hope just hours after they considered giving her the last rites.

THE parents of a teenage girl left fighting for her life after she was thrown through a brick wall in a horrific road accident have been given a glimmer of hope just hours after they considered giving her the last rites.

Deborah Parkes, 16, last night remained in a critical condition in hospital with devastating head injuries after she was in collision with a van as she walked to work at the Red Lodge Café on Wednesday morning.

But speaking yesterday as his daughter underwent surgery on her leg to repair a snapped femur, her distraught father, Simon, said he and his wife Wendy had received their first piece of good news from doctors.

Mr Parkes said: “We have been told that Deborah's iris started reacting to light. “This is a bit of a ray of hope as it has been her only movement since the accident - we are really pleased about that.


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“We still have to play it hour by hour and hope that every hour she makes it through to the next.

“We are sitting by her bed praying. We spoke to a priest on Thursday about giving her the last rites.

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“It is now in the lap of the gods but we now feel she is on the first rung of a very long ladder.”

The impact of the crash was so severe that Deborah was thrown through a brick wall and several feet into a neighbouring garden in Turnpike Road, Red Lodge.

The youngster is being treated at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, for serious head injuries, a fractured pelvis, a broken thigh bone and a smashed ankle.

The accident, which prompted renewed calls for safety improvements, happened on the old A11.

A Renault panel van collided with a Ford Fiesta and then left the road and collided with the teenager, who has two sisters and a brother.

Mrs Parkes revealed her daughter, a former pupil of Newmarket Upper School, had only started walking that route to work just days prior to the crash.

“She used to walk across the heath but now that the mornings and evenings are dark, you never know who is hanging about,” Mrs Parkes said.

“She started to walk the long way around and I think Wednesday was only about the second or third time she had done it.

A desperate Mrs Parkes said she was willing her daughter to pull through: “She has a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone. She is just your typical teenage girl worrying about boys and shoes - she is a lovely, lovely kid.”

Mr Parkes said the family had to be particularly careful in explaining the accident to their youngest son, Reece, eight, who suffers from Perthes' disease, which means he has no hip bone, and Asperger's Syndrome - a form of autism.

He explained: “It has been a difficult time trying to tell him why his big sister is not around. Due to his condition, when you try and tell him what happened, he automatically thinks she is never coming home.

“It has been absolutely devastating for the whole family and our world has turned upside down.”

The accident has stunned the close-knit community - especially truckers at the café where Deborah and her mother both work.

“She is a fighter and we have so many people behind her and rooting for her,” Mr Parkes said.

“This has helped the family and the support we have been getting has been absolutely marvellous - we couldn't wish for any better from our friends and family.

“We have seen big, burly truckers and a few have been in tears - there has been a rather spooky atmosphere.

“She is a bubbly, outgoing person who lights up the room when she walks in. “We have been sitting by her bed telling her how we miss all her noise and mess so typical of a 16-year-old teenager.”

Anyone with information about the accident, which happened at about 7.45am on Wednesday, should contact Pc Jim Calver at the Bury St Edmunds police on 01284 774100.

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