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‘I thought he was dead’ – Wife finds sleepwalking husband at bottom of stairs

PUBLISHED: 10:28 14 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:38 14 January 2019

Jo and Colin White at their Bury St Edmunds  home  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN.

Jo and Colin White at their Bury St Edmunds home Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN.

Archant

No-one expects their life to change overnight – but for one avid gardener and his wife, their world was turned upside down after a sleepwalking accident left him paralysed.

Jo and Colin White at their Bury St Edmunds  home  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN.Jo and Colin White at their Bury St Edmunds home Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN.

Nursing assistant Jo White recalls being woken at 4am by a loud thud – she rushed out of bed to find her husband Colin “in a heap” at the bottom of the stairs at their home in Bury St Edmunds in December 2017.

The 56-year-old, who had been a caretaker at Howard Community Primary School for 18 years, damaged his spinal cord in the accident leaving him with tetraplegia which restricts movement of the limbs. The couple believe he had either been sleepwalking or he had passed out at the top of the landing. Mrs White said: “It was awful – he had fallen face first onto his neck and I honestly thought he was dead.

“Colin was always into his DIY and his gardening, he was a very hands on man – but now he can barely move his hands or clench his fists.”

“It’s so scary because you never expect something like that to happen in your home.”

Colin White is now on the road to recovery after falling down the stairs in December 2017.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNColin White is now on the road to recovery after falling down the stairs in December 2017. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A year on, and after four months of intensive rehabilitation at a specialist spinal unit in Sheffield and weekly physiotherapy sessions, Mr White is now able to walk a few steps with assistance.

The 56-year-old is desperate to be able to get outside and see the birds, which was an activity he enjoyed doing before his fall.

The couple’s home in McIntyre Walk currently has steps leading to the garden, so Mr White is unable to access it.

They have set up a campaign to try and raise £5,000 in order to build a conservatory and make alterations to the downstairs layout to make things easier for him.

Since the accident, Mrs White said: “The community have rallied together and their support has been amazing.”

The St Edmundsbury Male Voice Choir is hosting a concert in aid of Mr White on Thursday, February 7.

The choir, which is the largest male ensemble in East Anglia, will perform 16 to 18 songs at Howard Community Primary School in Bury St Edmunds.

Frames and Conservatories in Bury St Edmunds have also offered to build the conservatory for £5,000.

To donate, email jowhite399.jw@gmail.com

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