My Bob's so lucky to be alive

RAIL crash trucker Robert Mortimer's wife today spoke for the first time of her husband's amazing escape from his horrific accident.The 47-year-old lorry driver from Washbrook – known as Bob the Builder to his friends – suffered serious pelvic injuries after the lorry he was driving hit a bridge, plunged 40ft down an embankment and into the path of a freight train on Monday morning.

By Georgina James

RAIL crash trucker Robert Mortimer's wife today spoke for the first time of her husband's amazing escape from his horrific accident.

The 47-year-old lorry driver from Washbrook – known as Bob the Builder to his friends – suffered serious pelvic injuries after the lorry he was driving hit a bridge, plunged 40ft down an embankment and into the path of a freight train on Monday morning.

The accident plunged rail travel into chaos for the day.


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His wife Tracy, 34, said: "Bob is in a lot of pain and the area around his pelvis is completely black. His injuries are serious, but I realise they could have been a lot worse.

"He escaped death three times – the initial accident, the fall down the embankment and the actual train crash. He definitely had all his nine lives at once."

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That same day, Mrs Mortimer received the letter her and Bob had been waiting for, for more than two years. It was from the hospital saying she was now top of the list for her long-awaited IVF treatment.

She said: "I couldn't believe the timing. We have been trying for so long but now we will just have to wait a bit longer. Our priority now is for Bob to get better."

Speaking exclusively to the Evening Star today, Mrs Mortimer said she initially heard about the accident on television and her first thought was how Bob wouldn't be happy about getting caught in the traffic.

"Bob's boss Andy phoned me at about 6.30am. He told me Bob was all right but to get myself to Colchester Hospital as soon as possible as Bob had been hurt in a road accident. It was then I connected Bob's accident to the crash I heard on the news."

Mrs Mortimer said she had missed two earlier calls from Andy, at the scene of the accident, and when she listened to the messages all she could hear was people screaming and the sound of sirens in the background.

She said: "It wasn't nice to hear and it sounded very serious.

"When I put the phone down I just froze. I know it's strange but all I thought about was who was going to look after my dog."

Bob and Tracy are currently in the process of moving house and Mrs Mortimer says this has made the past five days more difficult.

"The house feels so empty and lonely. Everything is packed and the place feels very cold and eerie.

"When I got home from the hospital on Monday and Bob's chair wasn't there it was horrible. The place echoed and didn't feel like home," she said.

Mrs Mortimer says her budgie and dog have been good company through this difficult time.

"The budgie has been very talkative and keeps saying: 'Shut up Bob' and 'I love you Mummy'. It has really kept me going."

But unlike his namesake Bob is not a handy man according to his wife.

"Everyone calls Bob 'Bob the Builder', but he's not exactly handy around the house – in fact he does absolutely nothing – but that's Bob and that's why I love him," she said.

Both Bob and Tracy are extremely grateful for the help and support that have been given by Bob's employer Andy Steward, of A&S Farm Enterprises, Manningtree.

"They have been fantastic," said Mrs Mortimer.

"I can't thank them enough. They are always calling me and asking if there's anything I need.

"We would also like to thank the people of Lawford who helped at the scene of the accident."

Speaking on behalf of the family, Bob's younger brother Glyn said: "We realise Robert was very, very, lucky and our thoughts are with Robert and Tracy at this difficult time.

"Bob's two children, Sarah, 18, and Colin, 16, are also in shock and finding it very difficult.

"Obviously we are very concerned for Robert and feel very helpless at the moment.

"Although he is a big lad, he is scared and worried about the operation.

"We are just praying that his operation is a success and are aware that he has a long road to recovery ahead."

Robert Mortimer was in theatre at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital for approximately six hours yesterday, and his condition today is described as stable.

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