Richard prepares for dream wedding

ONE punch has changed his life forever. But tomorrow, against all the odds, Richard Hutton will be getting married to his beloved fiancée.

ONE punch has changed his life forever. But tomorrow, against all the odds, Richard Hutton will be getting married to his beloved fiancée.

The 37-year-old has been in Addenbrooke's Hospital since he was attacked at a family party in Ipswich in February.

A vicious blow to the head knocked him to the ground, which led to life threatening injuries.

However eight months on, he is on the road to recovery and his fiancée Sarah Brookes, remains positive about their future together as husband and wife.

She said: “The wedding will be a celebration of life. I love Richard for who he is. Life is for living and getting the best out of it. It is now our duty to make sure Richard has a good life.”

Following the nasty attack, which his cousin Jamie Hutton admitted to and was imprisoned for, Mr Hutton's family were in a frantic state while they waited for him to wake from his coma. Six weeks later, he came round but has since faced an uphill battle to get himself back on track.

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The injuries mean he will need 24/7 care for the rest of his life. His chances of walking are slim and he will never ride his treasured motorbike again.

Miss Brookes, 42, of Beatty Road, said: “The stress of this has affected us all. It has been a horrendous rollercoaster of emotions. I feel very bitter towards Jamie. He can feed himself and still do things for himself unlike Richard.”

The big event, which will be 251 days since his attack, will take place at Ipswich Register office tomorrow morning. There will be a party the following day at the Golden Hind pub in Nacton Road.

It will be another six months at least before Mr Hutton is able to return home permanently and when he does, Miss Brookes will be his full-time carer.

She added: “He is different but he has still got his sense of humour. It will be fantastic to have him back. We are lucky in lots of ways because it could have been so much worse.

“We are quite philosophical about it. It has happened and there is nothing we can do about it so we just have to cope with it. Richard does appreciate his limitations.

“I love him to bits and cannot imagine my life without him. To see his sheer determination and the effort that he puts into his physio is nothing short of inspiring. I do not know any other man who has a strong enough character to cope with what Richard has.

“This will be the beginning of the rest of our lives.”

Have you fought against the odds to achieve something? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

MISS Brookes first met Mr Hutton the night after her 40th birthday when a mutual friend invited her to see a band at the Royal Oak pub on May 20, 2006.

It was there that the pair struck up a conversation, had a drink together and after a few weeks of seeing each other, decided to become a couple.

They immediately clicked and had lots in common, including a love of bike rallies, live music, 'spit and sawdust' pubs and a lust for life.

She said: “Both of us have been married before and it had not worked out for either of us. We just have so much fun together and we are both on the same wavelength.

“For me, life really did begin at 40.”

Just after Christmas last year, they were looking at rings together in the sales and Miss Brookes said it was all very casual how she ended up getting one. It was intended that she was going to officially propose to him on February 29 (a leap year) and marry in May but the attack at the beginning of February ended this plan.

Since he has been in hospital, Miss Brookes got him a ring and six weeks ago, she brought up the issue of marriage again and asked if they were going to go ahead with it. After a long pause, Mr Hutton jokingly replied: “Go on then.”

BLACK and purple - the couple's favourite colours - will be the colour theme for the day. Mr Hutton will be in leather trousers and a rockers t-shirt with a black buttonhole while Miss Hutton will be wearing a long purple silk dress. Her bridesmaid will be her 12-year-old daughter, Morgan, who cannot wait to wear a Halloween costume for the occasion.

Miss Brookes said: “It will be a budget affair. We are having a party on the Saturday at the Golden Hind because we don't want too much happening on the one day. We are asking people to come how they want to dress and bring a plate of food.

“It will be a wedding with a difference. We are not asking for any presents but for people to give donations towards getting a Nintendo Wii to help Richard's rehabilitation when he gets home. It is really good for hand eye co-ordination and can really help with brain injuries.”

ON February 9 this year all the family gathered together at the Greshams Sports and Social Club for the 60th birthday party of Mr Hutton's uncle.

Miss Brookes said it was a happy occasion and everyone was smiling but the evening turned sour towards the end of the night.

As Mr Hutton went outside for a cigarette, he was attacked. Miss Brookes said when she went outside, she saw he had a bloody nose, a puffy eye and blood coming from his mouth. She decided it was time to go home but as the family were preparing to head off, his cousin Jamie Hutton emerged and hit him twice in the face. The second blow knocked him to the ground.

Miss Brookes said: “I saw Richard's eyes roll back into his head and heard this crack as he hit the ground. I was on my hands and knees and was trying to stop him choking on his tongue. I was screaming.”

Mr Hutton was taken to Ipswich Hospital but later transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital.

At Ipswich Crown Court on May 29 Jamie Hutton was sentenced to two and half years in prison after he pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm.

MR Hutton was in a coma for about six weeks and doctors feared the worse. He had to have a frontal lobotomy, where two centimetres of brain tissue was removed. He now has titanium plates where part of his skull used to be.

He cannot currently walk as the injuries have caused the tendons near his feet to seize up. He is having intense physiotherapy sessions in a bid to relieve this.

Over the past eight months, he has suffered pneumonia, infections, and blood clots. He has had to have three operations including complex surgery to rebuild his skull.

As the front part of his brain has been damaged, his emotional, motivational and forward planning abilities have all been affected.

Although his long term memory is quite good, his short term memory is not as sharp and he cannot remember anything about the horrific attack.

For the past month, he has been allowed to go home every weekend in a bid to help his rehabilitation.

In the weeks following the attack, Miss Brookes and Mr Hutton's mother, Dot, were at the hospital every day but now, their visits have been reduced to once a week as they cannot afford the petrol to go so regularly.

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