The family of a doctor who is fighting for his life after suffering 80pc burns have paid tribute to the support of their friends and his patients.

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Susie Peel, of Huntingfield, near Halesworth, has thanked those who have sent their well wishes and also warned others against using accelerants on bonfires, as her husband lies in an induced coma.

Dr Darryl Peel, 51, suffered severe burns last Wednesday after trying to light a garden bonfire which had been primed with petrol.

He is expected to be in an induced coma for the next five weeks at the specialist burns unit at Broomfield Hospital, in Chelmsford, and yesterday, Mrs Peel, 47, thanked friends, his current patients at Framlingham Medical Practice and former patients at Cutlers Hill Surgery, Halesworth, for their well wishes.

“We would like to thank our incredible friends for their strong support, the three doctors and pilot of the East Anglian Air Ambulance without whom he would not have made it this far, and all Darryl’s former and current patients who have sent him hundreds of wonderful messages,” she said.

“We have read every single one to him and they are all on his walls waiting for him to see when hopefully he comes back to us.”

She added: “It is sadly true to say that in terms of survival over the next few weeks the odds are not in his favour. But he is an immensely strong and courageous person who made superhuman efforts to save his own life when this terrible thing happened to him and his family and close friends feel sure that if anyone can survive such a thing, he can.

“He is also lucky enough to have been flown direct to a specialist burns unit which is one if the best not only in the UK but in the world.”

On the advice of the intensive care unit nurses, his three teenage children are currently keeping a diary of what they are doing at school, what’s happening with his care and the messages of goodwill.

Dr Peel was injured after priming a bonfire and Mrs Peel said that she hoped no-one else would ever risk using any form of accelerant in connection with a fire.

“We now know this accident happened when he primed a bonfire, thought he had put the can in safety, but did not realise he was standing in a cloud of petrol vapour.

“If it’s possible for this appalling accident to serve any purpose it would be that nobody who reads this ever risks using any form of accelerant in connection with a fire under any circumstances and no matter how careful they think they have been.”

Dr Peel worked at Cutlers Hill Surgery for 10 years until 2003, when the family emigrated to Australia.

They returned the following year and Dr Peel took up a position at Framlingham Medical Practice.

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