‘Mir­a­cle’ man cel­e­brates 50 years

The Oban Times - - News - EMMA CRICHTON ecrich­ton@oban­times.co.uk

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.

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