Brave train-crash victim raises money for charity

Five months ago he was only given a 5pc chance to live – but now brave James How is cycling to raise money for the people who helped him and his family after he was involved in a serious accident in Suffolk.

The 11-year-old defied all the odds after overcoming severe brain injuries suffered when he was with his grandfather Richard Wright when the car they were in was involved in a crash with a train at a level crossing at Barnby, near Beccles.

Now James is preparing to cycle 15 miles with his family and friends for the PICU ward at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge and the Sick Children's Trust, where his parents Matt, 45, and Petra, 41, stayed while he was being treated,

James will be cycling from his home on Old Railway Road, Earsham, to his school, The Old School Henstead.

Mrs How said: 'The school have been so supportive to James since his accident and we said at some point we would like to do a fundraising event for the charities that helped us.

'The Sick Children's Trust gave us somewhere to go and sleep and somewhere to eat while James was recovering. It's a lovely place but the sad thing is everyone there has a sick child.'

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The Sick Children's Trust helps to keep sick children and their families together by providing home-from-home accommodation to families whose children are receiving hospital treatment for serious illness.

'We hope that other people will benefit from the cycle fund-raiser,' she added.

'Without the Sick Children's Trust we would have had to find somewhere on our own or travel to see James every day.'

It is difficult to imagine that nearly a year ago James suffered a brain stem bleed, a depressed skull and frontal and temporal brain damage as he shows off his new bike by cycling at top speed around his garden.

He was in intensive care for seven days, suffered traumatic short-term amnesia and could not speak for four weeks.

Mrs How said: 'By getting back on his bike he is showing what he can do now and how he can achieve normal everyday things we take for granted. It's about proving he can do it and it's really important this year we carry on and do what we did before the accident.'

James is also grateful for the help he received and praised the staff and charity that helped him and his family.

'It's very good, the help they have given me. They were very kind,' he said.

'I wanted to raise money so other people can do as well as I did and get better. I feel great to have come this far and I don't really think about the accident any more – I've got more important things to be getting on with.'

True to his word, his thoughts move back to his cycle ride and he said he is most looking forward to 'going up the hills and going down them.'

James, who wants to be a designer when he is older, is also part of Beccles Amateur Sailing Club and enjoys running, cycling and design and technology.

Mrs How added: 'He is getting back into the things he used to do and is building up confidence. He's just as determined as he was before the accident.'

Mr How added: 'We are really happy to be raising this money and we hope it can help this really great cause.'

The cycle ride will be taking place on Friday, July 1 from 7.30am.

• If you would like to donate contact The Sick Children's Trust at 020 7931 8695 or visit the website www.sickchildrenstrust.org

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