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Saturday, 29 November 2014

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Award for Barrow man who rebuilt his life after attack

AN inspirational man from Barrow, who has defied the odds to rebuild his life after a horrific attack, has received a prestigious award.

Chris Wilson, from Barrow, is the first Cumbrian in a decade to be made a Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador.

Four years ago his life changed dramatically when he was attacked and robbed in Tenerife.

Left for dead, Mr Wilson spent over a year in hospital and had to learn who he was, and how to walk, read and write.

His journey has been inspirational. Despite the impact of his brain injury, Mr Wilson remains positive and determined to make the most of his life.

The 26-year-old said: “I was in hospital in Liverpool for just over a year and came back to Barrow and was bored doing speech and language therapy and going to the gym. I thought I better get out the house and do this.”

Mr Wilson learnt about the Prince’s Trust through the Cumbria acquired brain injury team. The aim was to rebuild his confidence, to motivate him and give him something to get up and look forward to each day, to get him involved in a team and open new doors for him.

The Prince’s Trust team, Furness College, his parents and carers ensured every possible action and plan was put into place to include Mr Wilson, and he’s never looked back.

Mr Wilson, who uses walking sticks and a wheelchair, said: “The first week it was a bit scary; I didn’t know anyone and they didn’t know me.

“After that I went for a week’s residential at the Calvert Trust, in Keswick. It’s like YMCA for disabled people and I loved it because I was doing stuff I didn’t know I could do.”

Throughout his time with the Prince’s Trust Mr Wilson was an invaluable team player whoinspired and encouraged his peers.

Prince’s Trust team leader, Anne Brockbank, said: “I nominated him because his journey is just so moving and he’s so determined.

“He’s never looked back, he’s always positive and he’s moving in the right direction.

“He’s been a pleasure to teach and his determination, behaviour and enthusiasm is inspiring.”

Mr Wilson is constantly pushing his limits and has never let his disability hinder his progression.

Every Friday he volunteers for CandoFM, broadcasting live from 2pm to 4pm; he’s an “urban angel” with Age UK, encouraging older people to get out and do something they enjoy; and he’s a member of the A590 and Cast theatre groups.

His ambitions are simple. He said: “Eventually I want to get back to work but I’m not there yet. Before the accident I was working in McDonald’s but I can’t go back there because there’s too much moving around.

“I’ve got a degree in geology and geography. I’m trying to learn it again. I’m trying to get back to a way of life.”

Explaining his amazing fortitude, Mr Wilson added: “I wish I didn’t have to do it. I wish I’d had a normal holiday in Tenerife.

“I had that accident and you have to grin and bear it.”

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