Inspirational Dean loses fight for life

TRIBUTES have today been paid to an 'inspirational' Suffolk man who died following a lengthy battle to overcome terrible injuries sustained in a road accident two years ago.

TRIBUTES have today been paid to an 'inspirational' Suffolk man who died following a lengthy battle to overcome terrible injuries sustained in a road accident two years ago.

Dean Atwell, 32, defied the experts when he fought back from the brink an amazing four times after suffering multiple injuries when his motorbike collided with a van in Bacton in June 2006.

Despite damage to a main artery of his heart, damaged kidneys, a punctured lung, the loss of a leg, and several broken bones, including both arms, he courageously fought back from the brink.

Mr Atwell, who spent several years in Stowmarket but more recently lived in Old Newton, made massive progress but continued to suffer complications and passed away suddenly on Thursday.

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His mother Sandy Atwell said: “He was very, very brave. He has been inspirational to everybody who has come across him since his accident.

“Other people, other patients, doctors and nurses just find him amazing. He never gave up and was a fantastic son who we are amazingly proud of.

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“He always kept his fantastic sense of humour and was always able to laugh at himself.”

Following the accident on June 9, 2006, Dean, who worked as a carpenter, spent more than 20 hours on the operating table as top doctors battled to save his life with vital heart surgery.

He spent the following three-and-a-half weeks in a drug-induced coma and it was much longer before he built up enough strength to return home with his parents.

His father Glyn Atwell said: “We had two years extra with him because he shouldn't have survived the accident.

“Most people were amazed that he did.”

Speaking to The Evening Star from his bed at West Suffolk hospital in the wake of the accident, Dean outlined his approach towards living life with 'a smile on his face'.

“Basically I should be dead but I have fought and will carry on fighting,” he said.

“The best way to do that is with laughter and good friends. I'm feeling positive at the moment and keeping a smile on my face. What's happened has happened.

“I don't blame the van driver - it is just one of those things. You have got to smile, what other option is there?”

Dean's funeral will be held on Friday April 25 at Bury St Edmunds crematorium from 3pm.

Do you have a message of support for Dean's family? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to

Amazingly Dean's life was saved four times during his battle back from the brink.

At the roadside paramedics saved his life and had him airlifted to Ipswich Hospital.

He was transferred to Papworth Hospital where he nearly died undergoing 20 hours of heart surgery including removing a vein from his leg to repair an artery near his heart.

His leg the vein came from then had to be removed after it lost circulation and poisons threatened to infect his bloodstream.

He was then saved again after suffering kidney failure.

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