Brave Laurie to help others

HER dreams have been shattered and her career cruelly snatched away - but brave teenager Laurie Squirrell has today vowed to stay positive.The motocross rider, from Hitcham, was left paralysed from the chest down after breaking her back during a high-speed crash in America.

HER dreams have been shattered and her career cruelly snatched away - but brave teenager Laurie Squirrell has today vowed to stay positive.

The motocross rider, from Hitcham, was left paralysed from the chest down after breaking her back during a high-speed crash in America.

She was practising in San Antonio, Texas, for her first professional race.

The 16-year-old returned to England a week ago and faces Christmas in a hospital bed. But she has stunned friends, family and the world of motorsport with her bravery, maturity and refusal to stop smiling.

Laurie said: "There's no point saying "what if" or "if only". It's happened now and I can't change it.

"I'm only looking forward from this point and my aim is to be out of hospital by my birthday in March.

Most Read

"I've come to terms with the fact I won't ever walk again and now I can't wait to get out and about in a wheelchair.

"I'm not going to let it hold me back."

The youngster wants to throw her efforts into helping other teenagers facing lengthy rehabilitation programmes by setting up a charity with the help of close friend and World Champion motocross rider Jamie Dobb.

She has given strict instructions to her parents Richard, 38, and Julie, 37, to get rid of her bike and already has her eye on a quad bike as a replacement.

Laurie spoke to The Evening Star from her bed in Stoke Mandeville Hospital - which specialises in treatment for spinal injuries - where she is joined by her parents and sisters, Samantha, 18, and Kizzy, 15.

She is due to move to the Royal Buckinghamshire private hospital today.

The former Stowmarket High School pupil was the first female in the country to be awarded expert status in the sport. She rides 125cc bikes and had taken a year out of studying to practise.

A friend who owns a motocross clothing company has offered Laurie the chance to run it for them and her father says he's sure its one of plenty of opportunities which will open up for her.

Mr Squirrell, who runs transport company Squirrells Coaches with his wife, said: "She's a tough girl and has coped remarkably well.

"She knows it's now time to look forward.

"Physiotherapy is the key and she's very determined so hopefully she will be out sooner rather than later.

"She has accepted she won't be able to walk again but there will be lots of doors open up for her."

A bank account has been set up for Laurie at the Stowmarket and Needham

Market Barclays Bank. To donate, quote sort code 20 82 75 and account number 70820342. People can also donate money to support her by sending it to Laurie Squirrell c/o Squirrells Coaches, The Old Mill Garage, The Causeway, Hitcham, Suffolk, IP7 7NF.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter