Building a life after a deadly car crash

Haematology lab manager Mark Wrigley returns to work at Blackpool Victoria Hospital after recovering from a car crash.
Haematology lab manager Mark Wrigley returns to work at Blackpool Victoria Hospital after recovering from a car crash.
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A hospital worker left critically injured after a fatal car crash today told how he has fought his way back to health.

And Blackpool Victoria Hospital Haematology laboratory manager Mark Wrigley has spoken of the tragic loss of close friend Alan Bullock, 54, who was killed in the nine-car crash on the M6 last December.

Mark Wrigley - Extreme ironing on the intensive care ward.

Mark Wrigley - Extreme ironing on the intensive care ward.

Mr Wrigley, 51, was left fighting for his life with a catalogue of serious injuries including a broken arm, shoulder, ribs and two vertebrae, as well as a collapsed lung and a paralysed bowel following the incident.

Today, he is back at work and continuing to recover from the ordeal.

He paid tribute to the well-wishers he said helped him back to health – and told how the loss of his friend hit hard when he returned to the hospital.

“It was really hard the first day because of the loss of Alan, but it was like coming home,” he said. “When I came back I realised that two of us should have come back in December.

“Then it dawned on me, the whole gravitas of what had happened hit me, we’ve lost one of our own in Alan.”

Mark and Alan, who both worked in the hospital’s pathology lab, were passengers in a car which was involved in the horrific accident between junctions 16 and 17 of the M6 at Staffordshire, which Mark says he has no memory of.

His wife Sue, a specialist biomedical scientist at the hospital, added: “Alan’s family have been very supportive towards us, they have been lovely, we have lost such a dear friend.”

The couple said they want to thank everyone for all the support they have given and printed out the pictures and put them along the corridor of the pathology lab along with a thank you letter they wrote to everyone.

Mark, who is from the Stanley Park area, says the compassion shown to him by everyone and – bizarrely – a new-found hobby of extreme ironing, has aided his recovery.

“I just want to thank everyone for the love, care and concern they have shown Alan’s family and my family,” Sue added. “The medical staff at North Staffordshire were amazing.”

IRONING HELPED RECOVERY

Mark Wrigley believes he had a rather unusual aid to his brave recovery... a spot of extreme ironing on the intensive care ward.

“On the Thursday before the accident I went for a curry with friends,” he said.

“One of them mentioned extreme ironing (basically ironing in unusual places) but I had never heard of it.

“When I got home that night I said I was going to have a go. So I went outside in my dressing gown with the iron and ironing board.

“My wife Sue took a picture and we posted it on Facebook. Everyone thought it was very funny.”

The following Monday the accident happened.

Sue adds: “One day when I went in to see him, he was in the critical care unit. He was so sick. But just before I left, he said get the iron and then proceeded to iron his patient control 
analgesia machine. I put the picture (above) on Facebook saying, ‘Beat this folks – critical care ironing’.

“Everyone had been so badly affected by the death of Alan, but this picture really gave everyone hope”.

Mark added: “It helped massively.”

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