Family set up Go Fund Me page for British man who broke neck in Tenerife pool accident
A Go Fund Me page has been set up for a British man who broke his neck in a freak accident in Tenerife last Friday. Chris Watkins, a 43 year old caretaker from Pontypool in Wales, was on a lads trip staying at the Columbus Hotel in Playa Las Americas, when he dived into a pool and injured himself, but his friends initially thought he was joking.
His best friend Christian Preece, who he was on holiday with, witnessed the accident and said his “heart sank” when he realised dad-of-two Chris was serious about his injury. Christian said: "Sometimes you just need a boys holiday, so that's why we went out to Tenerife. We were mucking around in the pool and he decided to dive in, I'd already done it.
"He didn't come up straight away, and the lifeguards jumped straight in to rescue him. I thought he was messing about, but then he had a huge cut on his head. He was on his side crying 'I've broken my neck, I can't feel anything, help me' and I told him to stop being silly. I told him he'd only jarred it but he replied 'no, I'm serious' and my heart sank. He's a bit of a joker but I knew from his voice that he was telling the truth. He's been my best mate since we were four years old. To see him like this is like living a nightmare."
Chris is currently in an induced coma at the Hospital Universitario Nuestra Señora de Candelaria in Santa Cruz, and his family are now trying to raise the up to £40,000 it will cost for his medical bills and to fly him home.
Chris’s eldest daughter Kayleigh Watkins said she is in "total shock" after the accident, and it has been “so hard” for him not to see his three-year-old granddaughter Gracie-Mae.
Kayleigh said: "I'm in total shock. I can't believe what's happened. When I saw him in his hospital bed I just started shaking and crying, I felt sick, to see him like that was awful. He’s an absolutely brilliant dad who would do anything for us when we were growing up, and he's exactly the same with Gracie-Mae. He loves playing with her and not being able to do that will be so hard on him."
His sister Nadia Hopkins set up the GoFundMe page to get Chris home as soon as possible. She said: "It's horrific. It's a total freak accident, something you never expect to hear. I felt sick when I heard. He's got a heart of gold, he's the kind of person who would do anything for anyone. He's the last person who deserves something like this."
His mum, Gail, said that seeing her son in hospital has been “totally heartbreaking, he might be 43 but he's still my son.I'm not leaving the island until I take him home. Whatever we have to do to bring him back, we'll do it – it's our duty. He only had an E11 card so we're going to be left with a huge medical bill on top of everything else, and that's not even taking into account the air ambulance we need to bring him home, which could be £40,000 alone. It's unthinkable.
To visit his Go Fund Me page, please click: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-bring-my-brother-home-from-hospital-in-spain