‘Miracle’ man celebrates 50 years
A ‘ MIRACLE’ man from Fort William who was told he wouldn’t survive a motorbike accident 13 years ago celebrated his 50th birthday at the weekend.
Neil Nicolson was left seriously disabled and with severe head injuries after a woman driving a Volkswagen Sharan pulled out of a side road in Surrey and collided with his Suzuki bike in August 2002.
A mechanic to trade, Neil, then 39, was working as a scaffolder in London at the time of the accident and now has almost no short-term memory and little mobility. After the crash doctors said he was unlikely to survive and if he did he wouldn’t live to see his 40th birthday. But Neil defied the odds and celebrated his 50th birthday in Fort William on Sunday, surrounded by friends and family.
Neil grew up in Staffin, north Skye, with his parents, sister Lizanne Nicolson and brother Ronald Nicolson, before moving to Fort William as a teenager.
Lizanne said: ‘ We’re so proud of Neil. He really is a miracle. To be here celebrating his 50th is just amazing. It’s such a huge thing for us all to be here today. The accident changed his life completely but look at him now. He’s living in his own specially adapted home, he has carers but he’s as independent as he can be.’
Despite having no short-term memory, Neil can recall events from his younger years and can still speak Gaelic fluently, after learning at school on Skye and at Lochaber High School. He is not paralysed and has slight mobility in his arms but the head injuries he sustained mean his brain can no longer send the appropriate signals needed to walk. This is a vast improvement from the years immediately following the accident when he couldn’t move at all.
At the party at An Aird on Sunday, Neil’s family asked for donations to be made to Headway, a charity which supports victims of head injuries and their families. Lizanne said: ‘People at Headway helped and supported us a lot in the aftermath of the accident.’
MIRACLE: Neil Nicolson celebrates his 50th birthday, 13 years after a motorbike crash which doctors said he wouldn’t survive. His is pictured front centre with his mother, Betty, on his left and his sister,
Lizanne, on his right.