Harry pedals for pounds to thank local air ambulance for helping his brother
Schoolboy Harry Roberts is so grateful that Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance airlifted his older brother when he was seriously injured whilst playing rugby, he set himself a challenge to raise funds for the charity.
“If it wasn’t for the helicopter going out to Tom he might not be walking now,” says the 12-year-old Moulton School and Science College student.
When the school had to close for two weeks due to a Covid outbreak, Harry started a sponsored bike ride, cycling from his home in Brixworth, around Pitsford Reservoir, and back every day until he reached a total of 45 miles – the distance by road from the scene of Tom’s accident to hospital in Coventry.
“When I reached my target, I decided to keep going for the whole of the school lockdown as I was raising so much money,” says Harry.
He was hoping to reach a total of £150 for the local air ambulance charity but to date the amount he has achieved is £950 and rising.
Harry was just three months old when his brother Tom Watson (32) from Moulton suffered a spinal stroke when the scrum collapsed on him during a game of rugby at Rushden RFC in March 2008.
Tom, who runs a fencing and landscaping company, was 20 years old at the time and playing flanker for Old Northamptonians RFC.
“I was on the edge of the scrum which collapsed and turned inwards. I hit my head on one of the prop’s legs, there was a sound like material tearing and I fell to the ground. I had no feeling or movement in my arms and legs due to pulling the ligaments in my neck and the spinal disks then trapping my spinal cord,” he explains.
Tom suffered a spinal stroke which causes paralysis for days, weeks or in the worse cases can be permanent.
“Luckily, despite the poor weather conditions on the day, the air ambulance flew to Rushden, my spinal cord was not damaged by the discs and after a few days in hospital, with the ligaments tightening up and pulling the discs back in line, I was able to walk again. Since then I have been able to live a pretty normal life, just with some bad neck pain at times.”
“If the air ambulance doctors hadn’t treated me at the scene of the accident and I had to travel to hospital in a bumpy land ambulance the outcome could have been very different.”
Tom is very proud of Harry’s fundraising effort, which was completely his own idea to organise.
“It doesn’t surprise me as he will do anything to help others. He texts me an update every time someone sponsors him. I owe so much of my life from the age of 20 to the local air ambulance and the crew that day and that is why I am doing my best to promote Harry’s challenge,” he says.
For anyone wanting to support Harry, please CLICK HERE