Middlesbrough man loses eye after firework exploded in his face

Connor McKenna-West's right eye was removed in a four-hour surgery after firework shrapnel went straight through it. Credit: GAZETTE MEDIA COMPANY SYNDICATION

A man has lost his right eye after a firework exploded in his face on Bonfire Night.

Connor McKenna-West, from Middlesbrough, had planned a firework display for his immediate family along with his fiancé Carl Jennison.

However, the display went wrong when Mr McKenna-West attempted to light a rocket and instead of flying into the air, it flew into his face.

He was taken to James Cook University Hospital with a fully shattered right eye and shrapnel wounds to his face. Surgeons tried to save his eye but it had to be removed after a four-hour operation as shrapnel had gone directly through it.

"It hadn't even taken off to go into the air and it's instantly exploded in my face," Mr McKenna-West explained. "I've had a big piece of the rocket gone through the right-hand side of my eyelid and it is gone all the way through, shattered my eyeball and I had to have the eye removed in surgery."

Mr McKenna-West is now recovering in hospital after surgery. Credit: GAZETTE MEDIA COMPANY SYNDICATION

He was shown a picture of his eyeball before the operation and said it looked like "a deflated football". Had the shrapnel gone any further into his head it could have caused permanent brain damage but he has been determined to remain upbeat.

"I'm just trying to be positive about it because there's no point dwelling on it because I think it is what it is," he said. "No matter what I think in my own head it's not going to change it. I think my family and my friends are more traumatised than me, to be honest."

Mr McKenna-West has had a prosthetic ball fitted in his eye socket to retain its shape during recovery, it will be replaced by a prosthetic eye in a few months' time.

Mr Jennison's mother Kath has launched a fundraiser for her son's fiancé to help financially so he can focus on his recovery.

"He had his full life ahead of him and his right eye has fully shattered and had to undergo surgery for it to be removed," she said. "The surgery has went well and will be on the mend for a prosthetic eye in the next few months."

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