‘We are lucky to be alive’

Taranaki Daily News - - Front Page - Jane Matthews jane.matthews@stuff.co.nz

A Taranaki man who was one of five peo­ple se­ri­ously in­jured in a se­ri­ous crash north of Taranaki can’t be­lieve he’s alive to­day.

Ray Hay­ward, his wife Berna and Monique Matthews were trav­el­ling north along State High­way 3 when they were in­volved in a head-on crash near the in­ter­sec­tion of Ye Old Mill Rd, Mo¯ kau on Oc­to­ber 5.

The three, who were trav­el­ling in the Hay­wards’ Ray­bern En­ter­tain­ment van, were taken to Waikato Hospi­tal in three sep­a­rate res­cue he­li­copters from Taranaki, Taupo¯ and Tau­ranga.

The Taranaki en­ter­tain­ers have had to can­cel up­com­ing events be­cause of the crash, mi­nus one – their an­nual res­cue he­li­copter char­ity ball.

The cou­ple or­gan­ise a ball for the Taranaki Res­cue He­li­copter Trust each year, and last Fri­day af­ter­noon’s crash ‘‘high­lighted’’ the im­por­tance of the event, Hay­ward said.

He, his wife and Matthews are all still in hospi­tal with se­ri­ous in­juries. ‘‘I’ve got bro­ken ribs, se­vere bruis­ing of the pelvis and hips, other gen­eral bangs and bruises and a back in­jury.

‘‘Berna’s got a com­pound frac­ture of the wrist, she’s also got some pelvis in­juries and other gen­eral in­juries as well.’’

The pair should be able to go to

Taranaki Base Hospi­tal soon but Hay­ward isn’t sure when. ‘‘It’ll be a long, slow process.’’

Does he feel lucky? ‘‘That’s the big­gest un­der­state­ment you could ever make. Hon­estly, we are very lucky to be alive.

‘‘If it wasn’t for seat­belts and a cou­ple of other lit­tle things, like ob­vi­ously some­one is look­ing down on us, I wouldn’t be here.’’

A spokesper­son from Matthews’ fam­ily said she was in the high de­pen­dency unit in Waikato Hospi­tal and had had three surg­eries.

‘‘She’s pro­gress­ing well. She’s a fighter, she re­ally is.

‘‘We want to send a re­ally huge heart­felt thank you from all of us who are close to Monique. The love and pos­i­tive vibes, that’s what re­ally help­ing us.’’

A Givealit­tle page has been set up for the mother of four.

The Taranaki en­ter­tain­ers were on their way to an event where Berna and Matthews, known as Just Us, would be singing at the O¯ toro­hanga Club.

To­mor­row, the Ray­bern En­ter­tain­ment An­nual Taranaki Res­cue He­li­copter Trust Char­ity Ball is be­ing held at the Qual­ity Ho­tel in New Ply­mouth, with­out the aid of the Hay­wards or Matthews.

All the money raised goes to the trust, which Hay­ward called ‘‘ab­so­lutely stun­ning’’.

‘‘If any­thing has ever high­lighted the need for the com­mu­nity to raise funds, it’s this [the crash]. I never will be able to speak highly enough of how we’ve been looked after since the mo­ment of the ac­ci­dent.’’

The two other peo­ple in­volved in the crash, who were trav­el­ling to­ward Taranaki, were taken to Taranaki Base Hospi­tal.

‘‘It’ll be a long, slow process.’’ Ray Hay­ward

Five peo­ple were se­ri­ously in­jured in a head-on crash north of Mo¯ kau last Fri­day. Ray and Berna Hay­ward’s ve­hi­cle after the crash; and the cou­ple take a selfie in Waikato Hospi­tal.

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