A British groom-to-be left paralysed after a freak accident on his stag-do in Spain has finally been flown home to the UK for specialist treatment.
Firefighter James Thorpe, 28, broke his neck and seven vertebrae after tripping in the sea in Majorca ahead of his wedding to fiancee Michaela Watson.
He was left paralysed from the chest down and will have to wait for further tests to establish whether it is permanent.
But despite initially vowing he would still make the nuptials, the couple made the devastating announcement that they would have to postpone their dream Disney-themed wedding.
Michaela, 32, said: “After a lot of consideration myself and James have decided to postpone our wedding.
“We have been planning our beautiful day for two years, we will have our beautiful day just when James is better.
“Next Friday will be tough but it’s the right decision.”
The couple had feared that James would be stranded in Spain and miss his wedding in the UK on June 24.
But they arrived back in the UK on the Wednesday, after James was flown home by air ambulance.
He has now been admitted to Sheffield spinal hospital, South Yorks., where he was undergo specialist rehabilitation.
James says he tripped and fell while paddling in the sea at knee-height, banging his head on the seabed just hours after landing on the Spanish island.
He says he felt his neck break and was able to give clear first-aid instructions to other members of his stag party and a passing nurse.
Speaking from his hospital bed earlier in the week, James said: “It’s devastating that what was meant to be such a happy time has turned into our worst nightmare.
“I never imagined anything like this could happen but I’m determined not to let it get in the way of our plans so I can marry Michaela as soon as possible.
“This experience has made our love stronger and I can’t wait for us both to enjoy the day we have been planning together.
“Despite everything, I’m trying to think positively and do everything I can to walk again. If there’s a chance I can, I will. ”
But despite their initial fears, the couple, from Boston, Lincs., were thrilled to hear their insurance company had agreed to pay out.
They pay £10 a month for holiday insurance through Nationwide Bank, which is underwritten by Direct Line.
James flew out to Majorca last week and just two hours after landing he was paddling in the sea with friends he had grown up with.
But he was suddenly swept over by the knee-height water, forcing him to fall and bang his head on the seabed.
“He knew instantly what he’d done,” she said.
“He kept really calm and luckily one of his friends spotted him going under the water or he would have drowned.
“He was directing his friends to tell them what to do and they made a headrest out of sand so he could keep his neck still.
“He was even liaising with a nurse who happened to be there to make sure he didn’t do anything to make his injuries worse.”
James was rushed to a nearby hospital where MRI scans revealed he had not only broken his neck but also seven of his vertebrae.
So far, more than £10,000 has been raised by friends and family to help pay for specialist rehabiliation for James, and costs incurred as a result of the wedding been postponed.
James added:”I would like to say a really big thank you to all of my friends and family who have supported me in different ways.
“The friends who were with me at the time did everything they could, especially Ross who pulled me from the sea and stopped me from drowning.
“I’m want to show everyone how determined I am to recover as best I can.”
To support James, visit: https://crowdfunding.