Family’s vigil for attack victim

Reece Roberts
Reece Roberts
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The family of a 25-year-old “gentle giant” left fighting for his life after being attacked on a Blackpool street said they are “hoping and praying” he makes a full recovery.

Blackpool and The Fylde College student Reece Roberts had been out drinking with friends when he was punched in the face while standing outside a bar.

The family of Reece Roberts speak out about his assault in Blackpool Town Centre.  Pictured are Millissa Roberts with George Roberts, 1 and Chloe Roberts, 14.

The family of Reece Roberts speak out about his assault in Blackpool Town Centre. Pictured are Millissa Roberts with George Roberts, 1 and Chloe Roberts, 14.

He was hit with such force it knocked him unconscious and he fell to the ground banging his head on the pavement.

Left critically ill, Reece is now having lifesaving treatment to reduce the build up of blood in his brain.

His auntie Toni Roberts, 36, said: “We don’t know how anyone could do this too him.

“He is such a gentle person who couldn’t even hurt a fly. “Reece has Sotos Syndrome, known as cerebral gigantism, so he is taller and thinner than most people.

“But he is a real gentle giant. Everyone loves him.”

Police say the unprovoked assault took place outside Bar 19 on Queen Street at 1.30am on Friday.

They are today appealing for help in catching Reece’s attacker.

Toni added: “Reece had been at his local pub The Queens on Thursday night and from there had gone into Blackpool with a couple of friends.

“The next thing we know is he had been outside smoking a cigarette and he was randomly punched in the face.

“He was hit so hard he was knocked unconscious and banged his head on the ground.

“The doctors say he is critical. His mum Milissa has been sat at his bedside since she found out.

“We are all so worried We are having to take one day at a time and we are just hoping and praying he wakes up.”

Reece, a former Claremont Primary School pupil, was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital but, after suffering a severe fit, was transferred to Royal Preston Hospital, a specialist centre for head injuries.

His family including his mum Milissa, 42, sisters Chloe, 14, and Lisa, 25 and baby brother George, 20 months, all of Lakeway, Layton, are now echoing the police’s appeal for anyone with information about the attack to come forward.

Toni, of Highcroft Avenue, Bispham, said: “We just can’t understand why someone would do this to Reece.

“If anyone saw what happened or who hurt Reece I beg them to contact the police.”

Scores of Reece’s friends, have taken to social networking site Facebook to wish him well.

Diane Coop posted: “So sorry to read what has happened to Reece. He is such a lovely lad.

“So come on lad be strong and wake up. We are sending all our love to his mum and family.”

Lindsay Magee added: “I can’t sleep because of you. If for no other reason than your little brother needs you, please babe hurry up and get better and get home.

“Me and the kids have all said prayers for you.”

Natalie Howarth posted: “Thinking of you mate. My thoughts are with your family at this awful time. Love you pal – keep fighting.”

Friends at The Queen’s

Pub on Talbot Road, where Reece is a regular, have been raising money to buy him a present.

Darren Taylor, a barman at the pub said: “Reece loves all things Manchester United so we have been collecting

money to get him a signed shirt in a frame and the team’s latest kit.

“He is such a quiet and lovely lad we can’t believe someone could do this to him.

“We just hope he makes a full recovery so he can see it all.”

Detectives investigating the attack are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.

Det Sgt Simon Pritchard, of Blackpool CID, said: “I urge anyone who may have information that may assist our investigation to contact Blackpool Police by calling directly on 101.”