Sussex police officer inspires army veteran to recover from motorcycle accident and join the force
An army veteran who was injured in a motorcycle crash in Worthing has been reunited with the officer who attended the accident.
Mark Ridley, 33, was riding with a passenger on the A27 in Worthing, when the vehicle left the road, causing them both serious injuries in 2014.
The crash left him fighting for his life, while his passenger and former partner had to be airlifted to hospital also with serious injuries. She has since made a recovery.
The complex injuries that he experienced forced Mark to leave the Army.
It was an end to a 12 year career in the army, including active service as an infantryman in the Staffordshire Regiment in Afghanistan.
Mark suffered 19 major breaks and fractures; seven in his neck and spine, as well as 11 bleeds on the brain.
Attending the scene as part of the emergency response was PC Steve Taylor, 48, who himself served in the Royal Artillery for 12 years before becoming a police officer.
PC Taylor visited Worthing Hospital to complete patient condition checks on Mark in the aftermath of the collision.
When Mark was awake, he was able to talk with Steve and the two spoke about their love of motorbikes.
PC Taylor said: “Mark was kept at Worthing Hospital and I went backwards and forwards to check on him and report on his condition. After he woke up, we got chatting about motorbikes.”
Ridley added: “The fact we had a chuckle about motorbikes was one of the few things I can remember from the time.”
He began on his road to recovery with support from charities like Help for Heroes.
But Ridley admits it has been a difficult journey: “The effect of the collision crushed me. I had a mental break down afterwards. I felt as though my whole world had ended."
He said: “After six and a half years of operations and rehabilitation, with the help of my surgeons, I decided enough was enough."
During his recovery, Mark himself began to support the agencies that had assisted him and volunteered himself for charities that had helped him back to recovery.
Mark said: “The officers who attended the scene potentially saved my life, so when the opportunity came to join the police, I thought ‘this is my opportunity to say thank you’."
He joined Sussex Police as a PCSO in November 2020, and his duties include drawing upon his own experiences to help others as a disability engagement officer for Brighton and Hove.
Eight years on from the accident, Sussex Police Chief Constable Jo Shiner helped Mark to be reunited with PC Taylor.
PC Taylor said: “I’ve worked in family liaison working with families who have lost people in road traffic collisions. I have dealt with so many incidents like this, and normally you don’t get to hear the outcome.
“So I was completely humbled that somebody had been influenced so much by us that they would want to join the police.
“I’ve heard about all the charity work that Mark has done and all the people he looks after and am amazed by it.”