Stonham Aspal: 50 mile walk for hospital and air ambulance

A MAN who suffered serious head injuries in a horrific car accident has walked more than 50 miles to raise money for the air ambulance and hospital which saved him.

Darren ‘Daz’ Betts, 20, of Stonham Aspal, near Stowmarket, was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, on August 23, 2011, after he suffered life-threatening injuries which could have left him a paraplegic.

But having recovered, Mr Betts has walked with family members and friends from where the crash happened in Forward Green, near Stowmarket, to Addenbrooke’s in just two days. So far they have raised more than �3,000 which will be split between the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) and the criticial care unit at Addenbrooke’s.

Mr Betts’ mother Juliet, 46, who works at Highpoint Prison as a lecturer, said: “We are pleased we have done it and pleased for all the reasons we have done it. We walked the route to show it is a long way away.

“It is so important to say a big thank you to everybody and for any other families involved to give them hope.”

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The former Suffolk College and Debenham High School student’s journey in the air ambulance only took 15 minutes, highlighting the importance of the availability of the helicopters.

Ms Betts said Darren had been lucky as a retired accident and emergency nurse happened to see the accident.

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She said: “At work I was told my son had had a horrific car accident and had been airlifted to Addenbrooke’s. My friend then drove me there where he was still in A&E.

“He was then in critical care – we were told he would be on life support for a week, and really we were told that we would not know how he was until he came off the life support machine.

“He came round and he was back, but then he went back into a coma. And that was the scariest bit of it all. I really thought we had lost him.

“Daz did come round but was unable to walk and could not speak clearly. All credit to him – he has worked really hard, he has never felt sorry for himself.”

Mr Betts had been driving to Stowmarket and Needham Market railway stations to pick up three friends he has known since his primary school days when the accident happened.

“He is doing brilliantly, he is back to work,” said Mrs Betts. “I would not look at him and realise how he was last year. I’m his mum, but I think he is amazing and I think he is back to his best.”

Now Mr Betts works at Greene King in Bury St Edmunds as an electrical engineer.

Ms Betts paid tribute to her friend Emma Byford who helped organise the walk.

Pip Duffy, of the EAAA, and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter also took part in sections of the walk.

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