Burns victim on road to recovery

A FACTORY worker who suffered severe burns in a massive industrial explosion is today back at home with his family and on the road to recovery.John Balls was airlifted to hospital following the blast at Brantham's Wardle Storey factory in November suffering from burns to 45 per cent of his body.

A FACTORY worker who suffered severe burns in a massive industrial explosion is today back at home with his family and on the road to recovery.

John Balls was airlifted to hospital following the blast at Brantham's Wardle Storey factory in November suffering from burns to 45 per cent of his body.

The 56-year-old, from Mistley in Essex, was taken to a specialist burns unit at Broomfield Hospital and underwent major reconstructive surgery, with 30 pc of his skin used for grafts.

Today his brother-in-law Barry Soames, who also lives in Mistley, praised the work of hospital staff and said it was Mr Balls' courage and determination that had seen him through the last two months.


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He said: “He is progressing wonderfully. He is very, very good emotionally.

“His hands were very badly burnt and there was a time when they were worried about them but they are safe now. We are grateful to the hospital staff for their efforts.

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“He has always been a strong bloke and it is his strength that has pulled him through.

“The hospital is overwhelmed with his recovery and are hoping it carries on.”

Mr Balls has worked at the factory for 41 years and is thought to have been working on a xylonite mixer when the explosion occurred.

Xylonite is a highly explosive plastic thought to be produced for the Ministry of Defence for use in mortar heads.

The explosion is reported to have blown the roof off the factory and left Mr Balls with burns to his hands, chest, head, arms and legs.

The Health and Safety Executive is continuing to investigate the cause of the explosion today.

Mr Soames said Mr Balls had talked to investigators but his family had not probed him too much on the circumstances surrounding the accident.

He added: “He can remember the helicopter ride to the hospital but not much before that and we don't like to ask him.

“The manager has picked him up and taken him over the factory to see his friends.

“He said originally he would not go back to work but that is something he can think about when he is feeling better.”

N Have you been involved in an industrial accident? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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