Ipswich: Mum’s joy as son speaks for first time in 20 years

I never thought we would get to this point.

Those were the words of proud mum Diane Franklin from south east Ipswich, after her paralysed son spoke for the first time in almost 20 years.

Her son, Simon Ellis, was the passenger in a car which smashed into a wall in Great Wenham, near Capel St Mary, on June 26, 1992, when he was just 18 years old.

He suffered severe injuries including brain damage, two skull fractures and was left quadriplegic, meaning he couldn’t use his arms and legs. The driver was uninjured.

Doctors said Simon, who is now 37, would never be able to talk again.

But after 19 years of silence, Ms Franklin – a mother of four – is overjoyed with his progress after he finally said the precious words of ‘I love you’.

“He is really getting there and it is amazing to see,” she said.

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And since speaking for the first time during the Christmas festivities, Mr Ellis has continued to rebuild his vocabulary.

Mr Ellis was initially taken to Ipswich Hospital, but was soon transferred to Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridgeshire.

Two years later he was admitted to the Sue Ryder care home based in the heart of Chantry in Ipswich and has remained there since.

She said: “We have been just using flash cards and we have been so pleased with the response.

“Since saying ‘I love you’, he has been saying his brother’s name, Andy, and he also said Hilary which is his sister’s name.

“He is getting there and he can now say when he’s hungry. We know it is still very early stages but we are making amazing progress.

“Every day we come in to see him someone comes up to us and says he has said something new.

“It is very exciting especially since it is something that we never thought would happen.”

Simon has reached several milestones since the crash, including getting his facial expressions back after four years and learning how to eat again.

Ms Franklin, 61, praised the staff at Sue Ryder for their care and hard work which she believes is part of the reason her son has made such amazing progress recently.

Laura Gill, centre manager for the Chantry Sue Ryder care home, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with the progress Simon is making and we hope his speech continues to improve with the help of specialists.

“It’s fantastic to see him so happy, full of life and able to share his wonderful sense of humour.”

n Have you got an inspirational story to tell? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to starletters@archant.co.uk