A tragic accident at a hotel swimming pool in Tenerife has left a British grandfather fighting for his life.
FUNDRAISING efforts have begun after a 43-year-old Welshman was left with a broken neck and placed in a coma following a seemingly innocuous incident at a hotel swimming pool.
Christopher Watkins, from Pontypool, South Wales, dived into the Aparthotel Columbus swimming pool and struck his head whilst he was holidaying with friends in Tenerife.
The dive resulted in Watkins being dragged out of the water by lifeguards and rushed to hospital where he was placed into an induced coma.
The father-of-two was on holiday with best friend, Christian Preece, who recalls, “He didn’t come up straight away, and the lifeguards jumped straight in to rescue him. I thought he was taking the piss, but then he had a huge cut on his head.
“He was on his side crying ‘I’ve broken my neck, I can’t feel anything, help me’ and I told him to stop being silly.
“I told him he’d only jarred it but he replied ‘no, I’m serious’ and my heart sank. He’s a bit of a joker but I knew from his voice that he was telling the truth.
“He’s been my best mate since we were four years old. To see him like this is like living a nightmare.”
The well-loved Welshman has been joined by his mother, Gail and father, Allen as well as daughters Kayleigh and Carly.
Daughter Kayleigh spoke about the tragic accident, “I’m in total shock. I can’t believe what’s happened. When I saw him in his hospital bed I just started shaking and crying. I felt sick. To see him like that was awful.”
According to 23-year-old daughter Kayleigh, Watkins is a great grandfather to her child, Gracie-Mae, “He was an absolutely brilliant dad who would do anything for us when we were growing up, and he’s exactly the same with Gracie-Mae.
“He loves playing with her and not being able to do that will be so hard on him.
“My dad is in an induced coma so his body can rest.”
This life-changing accident has shocked the family, who are desperately trying to raise the money to pay for Wocky, as he is known to friends, to come back home.
“The operation went well with no complications,” continued Kayleigh.
“We as a family are very, very grateful for everyone’s support through this difficult time.
“We can’t thank everyone enough for what they are doing and how everyone is coming together to bring my dad home where he belongs.”
Sixty-one-year-old Gail, mother of the Welshman, said “He might be 43, but he’s still my son.
“I’m not leaving the island until I take him home. Whatever we have to do to bring him back, we’ll do – it’s our duty.
“He only had an E11 card so we’re going to be left with a huge medical bill on top of everything else.
“That’s not even taking into account the air ambulance we need to bring him home. That could be £40,000 alone. It’s unthinkable.”
A GoFundMe page, set up by his sister, has been launched in order to try to raise about £40,000 to get him back home, “Christopher has had a life changing accident during a holiday in Tenerife.
“As a family we are all in a state of shock and disbelief and we are all completely devastated.
“Being in a foreign country means that family members and friends cannot see him or support his mother, father and two daughters who are in Tenerife at the moment.
“Christopher is a fun loving vibrant person who everyone loves, he is full of energy and he is everyone’s friend.
“We need your help to raise funds for medical costs and to get Christopher home as soon as possible any donations would be gratefully accepted and the family would like to say thank you in advance.”
The page has already raised more than £16,000.
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