By Hollie-Rae Merrick
Monday, December 31, 2012
A YEAR ago Simon Ellis broke his 19-year silence after speaking for the first time since being injured in a horrific car crash.
And today his proud mum Diane Franklin from south east Ipswich, spoke of her delight that her paralysed son is continuing to make good progress.
It was at Christmas last year that Simon Ellis spoke for the first time in almost 20 years, when he told his mum that he loved her.
Since then Mr Ellis – who lives at Sue Ryder care home The Chantry – has continued to rebuild his vocabulary.
Simon was left with brain damage and two skull fractures after being the passenger in a car being driven by a drink driver. He was just 18 when the crash happened in June 1992 and was left quadriplegic, meaning he couldn’t use his arms and legs.
Today, Ms Franklin – a mother of four – spoke of her joy as her son continues to develop his vocabulary after 19 years of silence.
And while his knowledge of words is expanding, he has also acquired a love of singing and can often be heard singing Hallelujah and the Black Eyed Peas’s song I Gotta Feeling.
“I am so pleased,” she said. “His progress is amazing.
“He has just started singing and he has two favourites. Once you get him started he can’t stop, he loves it.
IT’S not worth the risk.
That was the message from Diane Franklin to revellers considering getting behind the wheel after drinking.
Her son Simon was aged 18 when he was severely brain damaged after being the passenger in a car driven by a drunk driver.
Simon was injured when the car smashed into a wall in Great Wenham, near Capel St Mary, on June 26, 1992. The driver was uninjured.
“Simon got in that car because he was more concerned about his friend getting home,” she said. “That was the kind of person he was.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is not to drink and drive and not to be a passenger in a car when the driver has been drinking.
“Even if you can’t get the keys off them, don’t get in the car – instead call the police.
“What some people fail to realise is the consequences of drinking and driving.
“It doesn’t just affect one person, it can effect a whole family. Simon’s whole family has been affected by this.
“It’s never worth it. The risk is just too big.
“The driver in Simon’s crash was sent to prison for drink driving causing grievous bodily harm, but these actions have a lasting effect.”
The Star’s Christmas anti-drink-drive campaign pledges to cover as many court cases of motorists arrested for drink-driving during December as possible.
“He now also responds to questions, which is something else he couldn’t do before. So, if I ask him what film he wants to watch he will always say Batman.
“His favourite thing to say at the moment is telling people they are beautiful, he says ‘you are beautiful’.
“We have been testing him and he does know the different between beautiful for a woman and handsome for a man.”
Ms Franklin said she believed her son was enjoying life again because he was beginning to get some independence back.
“He can decide what he wants to do more and he gets some form of independence back which is nice for him.
“I think he is enjoying life a lot more these days and it’s great to see.
“I think the staff at Sue Ryder have a lot to do with that because they really are amazing with him.”
Mr Ellis was initially taken to Ipswich Hospital after the collision, but was soon transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridgeshire.
Two years later he was admitted to the Sue Ryder care home based in Chantry Park and has remained there since.