Messages of support for blast victim

COLLEAGUES of a man who suffered horrific injuries following a blast in his flat have sent their best wishes for a speedy recovery.

The man, named locally as Richard Nicholls, was injured in the Ellenbrook Green blast in Ipswich earlier this month. He is understood to be Canadian and was living at the flat when it was destroyed by the explosion.

The incident left Mr Nicholls with shattered bones in his arms and legs and he remains at a specialist burns unit at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford. It is also believed he suffered burns to his airways.

Speaking on behalf of his workmates at Textron, Jim Snell of Ransomes Jacobsen, said: “We are all devastated for you – what a terrible tragedy.

“Everyone here is behind you and praying for you to have a full recovery.

“You are a top man and I’m sure your strong spirit will carry you through. Hang in there.”

Kevin Watkins, landlord of The Belstead Arms, which is opposite the blast site, said Mr Nicholls had undergone a series of lengthy operations.

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“He has severe damage to his arms and legs, and has had a number of operations including an 11-hour one,” he said. “The explosion sent lots of shrapnel into the air.

“He has come out of his coma now, but he still has a very long road ahead of him. He is likely to be in hospital for a long time.”

The explosion, which rocked a row of flats and shops on Friday, December 16, is believed to have been caused by a redundant back boiler.