Motorbike stunt legend Eddie Kidd appeals for Stephen Hawking-style voicebox
Stunt legend Eddie Kidd devoted so much of his life to others he was honoured by the Queen for his charity work.
Now brain-damaged and in a wheelchair, it is Eddie who needs help.
The motorcycle daredevil’s glamorous life of film work and death-defying leaps came to an abrupt halt with a horror crash 22 years ago.
Eddie, now 59, had to learn to talk again after the disaster.
In 2011 he achieved a remarkable feat, walking the London Marathon in 50 days using a special walking frame to raise £75,000 for the charity Children with Leukaemia.
But after years of reclusive living his speech is failing. And he needs a device like the one used by the late physics genius Stephen Hawking.
His close friend Billie Mobayed said Eddie’s speech is more like a grunt or a growl now.
She said: “Being able to communicate again would transform his life.
“He makes fun of himself. He says he sounds like a motorbike when he’s talking.”
Friends and family are busy trying to raise £30,000 towards Eddie’s care including £10,000 for the life-changing voice machine.
After devoting much of his life to charity work, they say it is now OBE hero Eddie’s turn to receive help.
Billie said: “Eddie has made a difference to so many people’s lives over the years.
“To so many people he was a legend, a true hero.
“He really was someone that young guys looked up to and someone who has devoted so much of his life to charity. Well, now it is Eddie who is in need.”
The former stunt ace, who has doubled for the likes of Michael Caine, Harrison Ford and Bond stars Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan, is still mentally astute.
But his words come out as grunts and mumbles that can be understood only by those closest to him.
Already dependent on his round-the-clock carers to wash, feed and dress him, Eddie is desperate not to have to rely on them to be his translator too.
Billie, 52, said Eddie became severely depressed after his split from ex-wife Samantha Kirli. She said: “He just crawled into a hole and disappeared.
“He became depressed and just didn’t want to live any more.”
Eddie would spend all day in front of the TV.
But 18 months ago Billie and other friends stepped in to pay for Eddie to see Belgian physiotherapist Jacques Caluwe – whose bio energy stimulation methods have had a big impact.
He has also been given a machine to use at home which has been developed by Jacques and works by using a low current to reactivate damaged cells.
Billie, from London, who ran a modelling agency in Dubai, said: “A year ago Eddie couldn’t hold his head up but now he can.
“It is a slow process, but it is working. And Eddie is so determined. He does an hour of bed exercises every morning, before doing half an hour of squats with standing bars.
“He has remained incredibly fit. After all the horrific things he’s gone through, he hasn’t given up. But being able to communicate again would transform his life.
"He was given a piece of speech generating equipment by the NHS but it was prehistoric. So huge and bulky, it was impossible to take anywhere.
“Eddie can’t have a private conversation with anyone because he always has to have a third party there to translate what he’s saying.
“This piece of equipment would give Eddie his life back. He would be able to do so much more because he will have his communication skills back.”
Dad-of-three Eddie lives on benefits at his modest bungalow in Peacehaven, East Sussex.
It is a far cry from his days as the handsome hero to millions around the world whose his amazing motorbike jumps wowed so many fans.
He first stunned spectators in 1981 when he jumped 80ft across the gap in a derelict railway bridge in Essex on a 400cc Yamaha. He went on to play Dave Munday in the film Riding High.
And in 1993 he leapt the Great Wall of China. That year he also beat Robbie Knievel, son of Evel Knievel, in a stunt bike world championship jump off.
Eddie was also an advertisers’ dream. As well as fronting major ad campaigns he had a modelling contract with Levi’s 501 jeans in 1987.
But in 1996 everything changed when he jumped 50ft across a Warwickshire air strip.
He completed the leap but hit his chin on the petrol tank on landing and knocked himself out.
The bike continued up and over a 20ft bank. Eddie suffered catastrophic head and pelvic injuries.
But he has refused to be beaten by his disabilities.
In 2012, a year after his epic London Marathon achievement, he was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of his services to charity.
Billie said: “Doing the marathon destroyed him. His health hasn’t been the same since.
“But he insisted on doing it, so as not to let the charity down. It was the same on the day of his accident.
“He should never have made the jump because cardboard boxes supposed to absorb his impact had not been put in place.
“But he insisted on doing it so as not to let his fans down. His whole life, Eddie has always put others first and he’s still paying the price.”
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