Father paralysed in motorbike crash describes 'overwhelming' support as he's reunited with family

  • ITV News Central's Social Affairs Correspondent Lucy Kapasi spoke to Dean and his family, after he was paralysed in a motorbike accident.

A father-of-two who was paralysed from the chest down in a motorbike accident, has thanked the community for their 'overwhelming support' as they continue in their mission to get the family settled in a permanent home.

Dean Johnson from Stoke-on-Trent spent five months in the Royal Stoke Hospital and then an Oswestry rehabilitation centre, after the crash which he was lucky to survive.

He had hoped to return to his family home of 20 years with his partner Gemma Salt and their two children Nathan and Aimee.

But Dean, who now uses a wheelchair, has been told it's not feasible to make the required adaptations and it was suggested he might have to live in a nursing home.

The family has now been temporarily offered a two bedroom accessible house to rent, which has allowed them to reunite - for now.

Although it's not a long term solution, Dean and his partner Gemma Salt are delighted to be back together as a four, as they look for a long-term accessible property.

Dean said: "We've got the whole family all in one place for now and that's the most important part."

Gemma agreed, saying: "It's just that missing puzzle piece is back and it's very much just the simplicity of how a family runs. We're not doing anything extraordinary. It's just being together. It's good."Before his accident Dean was very active and is now adapting to a new way of life. The morning routine to get him up and ready to start the day takes around four hours.

Doctors say he is medically fit - but where to discharge him proved a problem.

There wasn't enough space for a safe ramp up the steps of the family home, too little room to turn a stretcher or wheelchair around in the hall - and no downstairs bathroom.

Before the accident, Dean led a very active lifestyle. Credit: Dean Johnson

The couple told ITV News Central about the huge financial challenges ahead. Dean said: "We can't move back home, it's not an option. The difference in price from our old house to a bungalow which we now need is probably £60,000 to £70,000.

"We've got a bit of money from the life insurance which is nowhere near that. And then to get a new mortgage we've both got sick pay on our wage slips so at the moment it's a catch-22."

Gemma agreed: "There is a pressure there because before we are sorted we're financially responsible for two properties. We wouldn't even have been able to take on this temporary property if it wasn't for the GoFundMe and all the people who fundraised for us."

Dean's colleagues at Kilncare have rallied to support him. Credit: Kilncare

And the community have rallied round with friends, family, Deans' colleagues at Kilncare where he works as an engineer, his son's workmates at Waterworld and even his favourite chip shop coming together to help. So far £18,000 has been raised.

The target is £60,000.

Dean commented: "It's amazing. Everybody has really dug in. I'm not one to get emotional but I have got teary on more than one occasion."

Gemma said they were 'so grateful for the support' especially on the difficult days.

The next fundraising event is a charity football match on Monday 13 November at Abbey Hulton Academy between White Hart FC from Smallthorne and a team made up of Waterworld employees including Dean's son Nathan.

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