After being paralysed by a freak accident, brave dad will wed his sweetheart

A MAN left paralysed after a freak accident at work is looking forward to the biggest day of his life later this month.

Former cable puller Richard Bradley, 28, severed his spinal cord, broke all of his ribs and punctured both of his lungs after plunging from a 26ft platform as he worked on a site in Crawley, West Sussex, in January 2007.

He spent 10 days on a life-support machine and when he came round he was left devastated when doctors told him he would never walk again.

But after tackling his challenges head-on following his accident, Richard is now preparing to tie the knot with long-term sweetheart Sarah Owens, 26, who he admits was the one who helped him through the dark days.

Richard, who lives with Sarah and his nine-year-old son, Lewis, in the Rift House area of Hartlepool, said: “It will be a big day, the biggest of our lives – though she has cost me a fortune.

“This just feels like the right thing for us to do. I didn’t really propose as such, it just came up in conversation.

“I’ve said before that Sarah helped me through all this, along with Lewis, and we’re all looking forward to it.”

The big day takes place on May 21 at St Aidan’s Church, in Stockton Road, followed by a reception at the Belle Vue Sports and Social Club.

Sarah added: “Richard has spent a bit of time in hospital having various checks and things, so I’ve done most of the organising.

“He’s seen his suit, but that’s about it so it should all be a big surprise for him.

“Lewis is the ring-bearer and we have about 300 guests coming along, so it should be an emotional day.

“The nerves are starting to kick in now!”

As reported in yesterday’s Mail, Hertfordshire-based electrical company Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil was fined £120,000 after the accident following a prosecution at Lewes Crown Court by the Health and Safety Executive.

HSE told the court that the firm had failed to ensure the safety of its employees while carrying out the installation of the cable tray systems.

And while Richard, who has already received an undisclosed payout for himself, was disappointed by the size of the fine issued by the court he is now happy to draw a line under the situation and can look forward to a bright future.

He added: “When I heard the size of the fine, I was disappointed.

“I don’t think it reflected what myself and my family have been through over the last few years since this accident happened.

“I think the fine should have been bigger, I will never forget how close I came to losing my life. I think they got off leniently to be honest.

“But this draws a line under it now. I had my payout, and I never even told my family how much that was because I wanted it to remain private.

“I’ve had to learn to adapt to things, and I’m managing as best I can. I don’t want to dwell on things that have happened in the past.”