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'Why I didn't leave home for two years' - Norfolk grandmother's recovery from life-changing accident

PUBLISHED: 16:51 20 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:50 21 February 2019

Dawn Abbott from Swaffham has appeared on ITV's This Time Next Year after recovering from a horrific accident which left her with burns over 55 per cent of her body. This is her when she appeared last year. Picture: ©Twofour Production / ITV Plc Picture Desk

Dawn Abbott from Swaffham has appeared on ITV's This Time Next Year after recovering from a horrific accident which left her with burns over 55 per cent of her body. This is her when she appeared last year. Picture: ©Twofour Production / ITV Plc Picture Desk

©Twofour Production

It was split-second moment which changed a Norfolk grandmother's life forever.

Dawn Abbott from Swaffham has appeared on ITV's This Time Next Year after recovering from a horrific accident which left her with burns over 55 per cent of her body. Picture: ©Twofour Production / ITV Plc Picture DeskDawn Abbott from Swaffham has appeared on ITV's This Time Next Year after recovering from a horrific accident which left her with burns over 55 per cent of her body. Picture: ©Twofour Production / ITV Plc Picture Desk

But when Dawn Abbott, of Swaffham, accidently spilled white spirit over herself when looking for some paint, she had no idea that things were about to take a dramatic turn.

Seconds later, still covered in the highly flammable liquid, the now 54-year-old picked up a lighter and tested it to see if it still worked, ultimately causing burns that left her unrecognisable.

The result of the accident left the mother-of-three with severe burns on 55pc of her body.

That moment would become the start of a journey which would see her battle excruciating pain, depression, panic attacks, and anxiety, as well as making her unable to leave her home for two years.

Dawn Abbott from Swaffham has appeared on ITV's This Time Next Year after recovering from a horrific accident which left her with burns over 55 per cent of her body. Her grandsons joined her on the show. Picture: ©Twofour Production / ITV Plc Picture DeskDawn Abbott from Swaffham has appeared on ITV's This Time Next Year after recovering from a horrific accident which left her with burns over 55 per cent of her body. Her grandsons joined her on the show. Picture: ©Twofour Production / ITV Plc Picture Desk

Ms Abbott first shared her story 12 months ago when she appeared on the ITV show This Time Next Year, presented by Davina McCall. There she pledged to start going out in public.

Desperate for her to get help, it was her family that first encouraged her to apply to be on the show, which helps individuals change their lives.

Now, five years after the accident happened, she has finally found the courage to leave her home and the confidence to collect her grandsons from school every day.

On the show, which aired on Tuesday, February 19, she revealed that she made herself look people in the eye to rebuild her confidence after feeling like a prisoner in her own home by refusing to see anyone or speak over the phone - even to her loved ones.

Her husband John, took time off work to care for her, while her children had counselling to help them cope with the trauma.

But since her first appearance on the show, Ms Abbott is now able go out in public, and her grandsons joined her on the programme when she made her return this week.

Speaking ahead of the third series, Davina McCall said it was “very frustrating” waiting a year to find out how the participants had done during that time.

She said: “On this series we have a lady whose pledge was to walk her grandkids to school after suffering terrible burns. She would pop into my head throughout the year and I’d often wonder if she’d been able to achieve it.”

This Time Next Year airs on Tuesdays at 8pm on ITV.

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