Watton father injured during awareness walk as he avoided car near King’s Lynn

A father-of-two who intended to walk 200 miles in just seven days to raise awareness of youth sports was injured when he was forced to leap out of the path of an oncoming car.

Joe Barreto, 35, from Bleinhem Way in Watton, was just three miles from King's Lynn when he saw the car coming towards him on Gayton Road, he believes travelling at around 60mph. As it approached the car suddenly swerved towards Mr Barreto, 'squashing' his foot and forcing him to jump into the verge. The car then drove off.

After recovering himself, and in a large amount of pain, he walked a further two miles before eventually being forced to call for help as he reached the Queen Elizabeth roundabout.

'I noticed the car immediately because it had an exhaust that made a lot of noise,' he said. 'All of a sudden, when he was really close to me, he swerved towards me from the other side of the road.

'I injured my head and my shoulder. I was quite amazed he came across because he must have seen me as I was wearing lights and when the paramedics arrived they said I was 'lit up like a Christmas tree'.


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'I got up and after a couple of minutes of composing myself I started to walk again but I was really, really sore. I never realised how bruised I was but the paramedics said it must have been the adrenaline.'

Mr Barreto, who began his walk from Thetford library on the day of the accident on July 17, and managed 40 miles before the incident, was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn where he spent the night. His aim had been to visit 11 local authorities across Norfolk to raise awareness of youth sports.

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He managed to visit Swaffham and King's Lynn Councils before he was injured, and has pledged to complete the rest when he is well enough. Despite his ordeal, Mr Baretto still took part in a mini-Olypics event the following week which had been organised for the end of his walk.

He is no stranger to difficulty though after being paralysed for a year from the waist down following an accident in his work as a naval engineer, six-years-ago. After realising he could no longer use his body as effectively as before, he re-trained and now works with people with autism and mental health issues.

Mr Barreto, who was born in Portugal but moved to England eight years ago, founded the Thetford-based TUGAS United Football Club three-years-ago for adults and children across Breckland.

'Both before and after I was in hospital I felt quite frustrated,' he said. 'I felt I had let the kids down and that's the most upsetting thing. I'm almost back to normal though and soon I'll be 100pc.'

Mr Barreto remembers little about the car involved but believes it may have been an Audi and had LED lights above the headlights. The incident happened at about 11pm.

Anybody with information should contact PC Jo Higgins at Thetford Police Station on 0845 4564567.

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