A SHIREBROOK father-of-three left with devastating injuries after a vicious assault has rebuilt his life with the support of friends and family.
Eddie Fletcher (40), of Hereward Close, was close to death multiple times following the assault which left him in a coma in January 2007.
Even though Eddie defied the odds and survived the ordeal, he was left with debilitating injuries and a section of his skull was removed following surgery to save his life.
The former Bowring Engineering employee was left paralysed on his left side and had to undergo months of rehabilitation - including re-learning how to walk and swallow.
“It was a very tough time - I look back at the photos of me in the hospital bed and I can’t believe it is me,” he said.
“(The attack) was something my whole family had to learn to deal with. It has been very hard on my mother - she is not a young woman and all of this has been very difficult for her to cope with.”
Despite the extraordinary circumstances, Eddie has fought hard to get his life back on track for the sake of his family - including wife Sam and teenage children Dale, Shannon and Davey.
Surgery to attach a metal plate to his skull took place eight months after the attack.
Incredibly, Mr Fletcher was under-the-knife for just 20 minutes.
But he can never return to work because another blow to his head would likely kill him.
“Life is very, very different now,” said Eddie. “Before I was working at Bowring Transport, that has had to stop.
“My memory is unpredictable. I tend to blurt out what I am thinking without being able to stop myself.
“I have been able to get this far because of my family and friends.
“They have been there 100 per cent for me. I cannot thank them for it enough.”
Eddie remembers little about the attack which caused his injuries.
It happened on 27th January 2007 on Market Street - just a few hundred yards from his home.
“All I can remember is talking to my friend about a charity event we wanted to organise,” he said. “The next thing I remember is the hospital room.”
“Every time I see a report about someone getting a head injury it makes me feel awful for the victim because I know from experience just how big an effect that can have on your life.”
Eddie’s attacker was given a 14-month prison sentence after he admitted causing GBH.
Now Eddie is heavily involved with scooter club - the Shirebrook Nite Owls - which has around 30 members and meets regularly at The Victoria Pub on Acreage Lane.
Pal Darren Morley said he was proud his friend had not given up.
“When he came back home he did not want to go anywhere - his confidence was shot. But he is just starting to get that little bit of confidence back now,” he said.
“He lives for the scooter club - it gives him a purpose in life.”
The club is celebrating its first anniversary on 26th November at Shirebrook Miners’ Welfare - where it will present a cheque for more than £1,000 to head injury charity, Headway, raised through a host of fundraising events.
Said Mr Fletcher: “I’m so pleased we have been able to support Headway and hopefully raise awareness of the effects of head injuries.”