Mother's worst nightmare

IT'S every parent's worst nightmare.Ipswich woman Derdra Gwilliam left her Selkirk Road home to buy some shopping to be met by the terrifying sight of the scene of an accident.

IT'S every parent's worst nightmare.

Ipswich woman Derdra > Gwilliam left her Selkirk Road home to buy some shopping to be met by the terrifying sight of the scene of an accident.

The fear that it might be one of her five children immediately crossed her mind.

Horrifically her instincts were confirmed when she saw her 17-year-old son Anthony lying in a pool of blood in the road.

After hours of emergency surgery the teenager's life has been saved but he has had to have his right leg amputated.

Anthony was riding his pride and joy, a 125cc Yamaha motorbike, when he was involved in a crash with a BMW at the junction of Cauldwell Hall Road and Freehold Road in Ipswich.

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He was thrown about 100 metres across the street outside The Lion public house.

Derdra arrived in her car at the scene just moments after the crash.

She said: "I was just coming back from the shops when I saw the ambulances so I slowed down. When I got closer I saw Anthony's bike and realised what had happened, it was my worst nightmare.

"There was blood pouring down the gutter and he was clearly in immense pain. I thought he was bleeding to death and I just lost it."

Incredibly Anthony, a former Northgate School pupil, remained conscious throughout the ordeal and was taken to Ipswich Hospital.

After eight hours of surgery, which included the youngster being given 17 pints of blood and put on a life support machine, his life was saved. However a couple of days later he had to have three-quarters of his right-leg amputated.

Just a week after the accident, which happened on Tuesday April 2 at about 1.30pm, the teenager is still in hospital but is keen to come home.

Mrs Gwilliam, who lives at her Selkirk Road home with her five children aged from 20 years to 18-months, now spends her days between caring for Anthony at hospital and looking after the rest of her family.

She and her husband, Tony are divorced.

She said Anthony's positive outlook on life has given the family strength at this difficult time.

"Of course he is upset about it but he's trying to remain positive. He has an incredible strength of character, which will help him through this.

"His father told me he wanted to go to the hospital to be strong for Anthony but when he came back he said Anthony had given him strength."

She continued: "I think it might hit him more when he comes home. We talk about things, such as the fact that his sister (18-month-old Ellie) won't be able to remember him walking with two legs.

"He is trying to be positive but when I come home and see the wheelchair in my kitchen I realise it isn't going to just get better."

Anthony's brothers are: Danny 20, Adam, 14 and Matthew, 11.

Before the accident Anthony had been training to become a mechanical engineer at Saxon's, in Hadleigh Road. It is unlikely he will now be able to pursue that career path.

Friends from work, school and people from the area have been flocking to visit the teenager who his mother describes as being "so easy to love."

She said: "He is my most outgoing child, so full of energy, he was hardly ever in the house long enough to eat. He was always out and about being active."

Despite her sadness Mrs Gwilliam said she is thankful that her son's life had been saved.

She said she had read about tragic Julia Kettle in The Evening Star, who was the same age as Anthony, when she was killed in a car accident in Dedham last month.

"After reading that I have to be thankful. My heart goes out to her family. I really thought I was going to lose Anthony so I am so grateful that I have still got him.

"He is such a wonderful brave child, well he's a young man now who is having to grow up very fast."

A spokesman for Suffolk police said investigations into the accident were continuing and nobody had been charged in relation to the crash.

Matthew Eley

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