Ned's battle back from brink of death

TWO months ago Ned Gemmill was on the brink of death after an alleged street attack following a night out in Ipswich.But today, the 21-year-old spoke publicly for the first time about his long road to recovery and the battle to regain his health.

TWO months ago Ned Gemmill was on the brink of death after an alleged street attack following a night out in Ipswich.

But today, the 21-year-old spoke publicly for the first time about his long road to recovery and the battle to regain his health.

Doctors told Mr Gemmill he had suffered life-threatening injuries in an incident in Princes Street, Ipswich on June 27.

What started out as a night of celebration to mark his 21st birthday, ended with him in a critical condition in Ipswich Hospital.

After eight days unconscious and nearly a month-and-a-half in hospital, Mr Gemmill is now looking forward to a future that was so nearly snatched away.

The keen sportsman had to endure a six-hour operation to remove a blood clot from his head following the alleged assault.

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He still bears the scars of the life-saving treatment and is today trying to grasp the reality of how close he came to death.

He said: "I didn't realise how serious a condition I had been in until I spoke to the consultant. He told me I was lucky to be alive.

"My family had said I'd been in a bad way but I didn't believe them. I was quite surprised really because I really didn't think it was that bad."

Mr Gemmill, who lives in Clare with his parents, Jane and David, sister, Jenni, and brother, Jack, is still suffering the effects of his injuries.

He has to be under constant supervision when walking to make sure he does not fall over and suffers headaches for long periods of the day. He has also lost part of the sight in his right eye and the hearing in his right ear.

Every six weeks, he will have to return to Cambridge's Addenbrooke's Hospital, where he was transferred after initially being treated in Ipswich, for a check up.

He will eventually have an operation to insert a replacement to the bone that was taken out of his head when he was operated on.

Mr Gemmill has been home since last Friday, where a pile of birthday presents were waiting to be opened.

His mother, Jane, said the family is delighted to have him back.

She said: "We're just thankful that he's with us and normal as he ever was.

"We were warned there was a chance he wouldn't recognise anyone and he might not even walk.

"We were warned about everything that could happen and the hospital were great in keeping us in the picture. I can't praise them enough. They were fantastic.

"We're all so grateful for the support we received because you're quite isolated in a situation like this. We had so many cards and texts, for Ned and the family."

Ned's father, David, added there is still a long way to go before they can say Ned is completely recovered.

He said: "Once or twice I've thought he was out of the woods and I've been knocked back down quite hard.

"We're taking things on a daily basis now rather than hourly. We do still worry but you can't help it after all the worrying we've been doing."

Ned himself is now looking forward to restoring some normality to his life.

He said: "It's great to be back home and I really want to go back to work but I won't be able to for at least six months.

"I'm planning to go on holiday with my friends next summer. I want to go fishing and I'm looking to going down the pub with my friends, although I'll only be able to drink coke.

"I just want to get back to normal."

Ned and his family are keen to thank all their family, friends and staff at Addenbrooke's and Ipswich hospitals for their help and support given on Ned's road to recovery.

Five men have been charged following the alleged attack on Mr Gemmill and are currently awaiting trial.

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