A ten-year-old Bury boy who lost a leg after he was knocked down and crushed by a ten tonne horse box whilst walking home from school has vowed to walk again.
Oliver Hacking had his right leg amputated below the knee after he was in a collision with the wagon – which contained three horses – as he was crossing a road junction whilst carrying a present for his mother in his school bag.
The youngster, who played for his local football team and had gained an orange belt in karate, was airlifted to hospital.
Due to severe head injuries he was put in an induced coma for up to three weeks whilst doctors carried out three major operations – and was kept in Manchester Royal Infirmary for two months before finally being discharged in June.
Five months since the accident Oliver is back home in Bury and is now battling to walk unaided after being fitted with a prosthetic leg.
His mother Tracey Ashford, 41 is also battling to get better facilities at home for her son after his injuries meant he now has to live in a front downstairs room.
Mrs Ashford, who has postponed her second year studying social work at a university, said: “Oliver is being incredibly brave despite what has happened and managed to keep up his spirits throughout his whole ordeal.
“But the situation has taken its toll on him and the whole family. He sometimes gets sad because he can’t ride his bike anymore or that his friends come over for twenty minutes and then head off to the park and he can’t go.
“He has to think about his future relationships and forming friendships but again he is already at a disadvantage with able-bodied.
“I will always think about him knowing the first thing he has to do in the morning is to put on his false limb when he gets out of bed. It’s tragic for anyone let alone a boy of ten.”
The incident happened on March 28 when Oliver was crossing Bolton Road at 4.30pm after attending a booster class for his year six SAT exams at St Stephen’s Primary School.
At a pedestrian crossing, it is believed he stepped into the path of large Iveco horse box being driven by a female driver.
A school friend he was with escaped uninjured and police are currently investigating the circumstances.
Mrs Ashford said that they had ‘rehearsed’ the route home many times over the past few months and that he always walked with the same friend.
“It got to 4.45pm and he wasn’t home and the next thing was I got a phone call then from the police who said he had been hit by a vehicle and was on the way to the hospital,”, said Mrs Ashford.
“Meanwhile his dad and sister who were at home heard sirens up the road and ran up to see what it was. They were faced with a shocking reality – it was Oliver. Poor Jessica saw her brother.”
Witnesses said that Oliver and his friend waited at the crossing for the lights to change and while the friend hesitated, Oliver stepped out and was hit.
“He had a mother’s day present in his bag for me so it went through my mind he might have been rushing to bring it home to me. Everything went through my mind,” added Mrs Ashford.
“Police told me the wagon was ten tonne, fully laden with three horses which were ¾ tonne per animal and it hit him head on. When they said they would have to amputate his leg, I just couldn’t believe it.
“He is only ten I was thinking. I knew it was better than another outcome but it was such a shock. He was only four minutes away from the safety of his home.”
Oliver’s family now want Bury Council to find them a more suitable house to cope with Oliver’s needs.
For five months, Oliver has been sleeping in a single bed in their living room, using a commode instead of a toilet, and washing in a sink basin because the upstairs floor of their house is too narrow for Oliver to navigate.
Mrs Ashford added: “All we want is a suitable and safe house for him and yet he is virtually a prisoner in the house, living out of the front room but it was me who had to approach the council with no idea what a ten-year-old boy with an amputated leg would need.
“It seems that from start to finish, people keep dropping the ball. From the NHS to the council.
“It is absolute hell living like this. Nobody has any privacy. It has completely halted his rehabilitation because we have no rails, no equipment, no usable bathroom.
“His own bedroom is far too small for any equipment. Every day is a new situation and it is an uphill battle – a nightmare. We just need a new home. It’s people staring at him in the street, or someone coming out with a comment. After the accident I had to deal with the fact my son’s life was changed.”
A spokesman for Bury Council said: “A senior member of the Housing Assessment Service has undertaken an assessment of Mrs Ashford and her family’s needs and is in discussion with her to ensure that appropriate assistance has been provided.”
“We are doing everything that we can in this difficult situation and are looking at properties not only in the social housing sector but also within the private sector.”
Story via Cavendish Press
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