Wife describes 'life-changing' moment she became husband's carer after he was brutally attacked

Annie now cares for her husband Alan full time after he was attacked, leaving him with brain damage. Credit: ITV Meridian

A woman from Worthing who cares for her husband full-time after he was left with permanent brain damage from being brutally attacked by a group of teenagers, says she feels like her 'life has stopped.'

Alan Willson, 47, was attacked in Longcroft Park on Easter Sunday in 2021, after confronting three boys over a bullying incident.

Alan was in a coma for three months, and was left with brain and retina damage and smashed bones. 

He has relearnt to walk - but still cannot talk properly, and relies on Annie to help him with daily tasks.

Alan and Annie pictured before he was attacked. Credit: ITV Meridian

"When Alan was attacked he was beaten with a log," Annie said.

"I ran out of my house and it was just me, I got to the park and I was a whole different person.

"Nothing can prepare anybody for becoming a carer, its one of the hardest jobs that anybody can ever do,

"My life has stopped, my life isn't my life any more.  I don't count any more."

  • Watch as Alan helps wife Annie make a shopping list

Annie cares for Alan, while trying to also make sure there is enough time for her children and grandchildren. 

She allowed our cameras into her home - to experience a day with her ahead of a special ITV Meridian programme exploring the vital role of carers across the region.

"You just put one foot in front of the other. You don't look where you've been, you just look ahead, and if you can do that you'll be alright," she added.

"He's my husband and my soulmate and I love him to pieces."

Annie has told ITV Meridian about the drastic change becoming a carer has had on her life. "I have to schedule a shower.

"I have to schedule a meeting with my friends.

"Carers get £62.70 a week - that is how much our mental health is worth. You can't live off £62.70.

"Who's picking him up from the floor when he falls? Me. We're not calling an ambulance - we don't need to call an ambulance. If he needs emergency medication, I'll give it to him.

"But you have to put a value on carers."

Annie's daughter, Becky Willson said she worries about the toll that caring is having on her mum: "She's so strong, but I do worry because she's alone. I pop over to see her quite a lot."

  • Annie says she feels she has to protect her family from the pressure she faces

In June the three boys who kicked, punched and beat him were sentenced to a combined 25 years in jail.

Harry Furlong, 18, was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm at Lewes Crown Court, and jailed for 20 months.

Archie Tilley, 16, and George Tilley, 14, were found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent. They both received nine years with three additional years on license.

If you or your family are in need of support you can contact the following organisations.

Crossroads Care - 020 8943 9421

Carers UK - 020 7378 4999

Carers Trust - 0300 772 9600

Rethink - 0808 801 0525

Samaritans - 116 123


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