Brit who broke neck in Thailand to fly home for Christmas

British backpacker who broke her neck jumping into a pool in Thailand is to fly home on Christmas Day after well-wishers raised £65,000 towards her treatment and travel

  • Sophie Wilson from Leicestershire dreamed of travelling Asia for six months
  • The 24-year-old dived in a swimming pool and broke her neck in two places
  • She may never be able to walk again but will be home for Christmas thanks to generous well-wishers who have paid the travel costs for Sophie and medics

A British backpacker who broke her neck in Thailand will begin her long journey home on Christmas Day.

Sophie Wilson, 24, from Shepshed, Leicestershire, damaged two vertebrae diving into the shallow end of her hotel pool on December 1.

Her accident prompting a worldwide fundraising effort to help pay her hospital bills and fly her home.

Sophie Wilson, 24, broke her neck in two places and is unable to use her legs after diving into a pool

Shortly before midnight on December 25, Sophie will be boarded onto a plane on a stretcher with three Thai medics and her parents to make the 13-hour flight from Chiang Mai to Heathrow.

There, an ambulance will meet the plane on the tarmac and she will be taken to Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham where she will be assessed for further treatment.

Her mum, Jane, 59, said: ‘We’re all looking forward to getting back now and settling down to some kind of normality.

‘It won’t be normal life for a while and she won’t be going home straight away but we’ve got the flight arranged now, at least.’

Sophie has said the situation is heartbreaking and she had previously led a very active life style 

About £65,000 has been raised on the family’s GoFundMe page, which will help cover the hospital costs, as well as the price of the flights for the family, and the three medical staff, who will have to be flown back to Thailand.

Jane said: ‘We’re very pleased with all the fundraising and so happy people have done so much to help us.

‘The hospital is letting us leave without paying because we have to come home to get access to the money that’s been raised.

‘It’s looking like the total cost will be about £91,000, including £37,500 on flights to come home and send the three medics back again.

‘We’ve been waiting for the British Embassy to get us visas for the three medics to enter the UK, which seemed to take quite a while.

The former coffee shop manager will have to be flown home with special medical assistance 

‘But it was done within a week and from what the hospital have told us that’s quick.’

Sophie is still unable to walk and Jane said her daughter was ‘having ups and downs’ as she dealt with the impact of the injury on her life.

Sophie had been just one week into a six-month backpacking tour of Asia when she suffered the injury.

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She underwent 10 hours of surgery to try to correct the damage and in recent days has been undergoing physiotherapy to ensure she is fit enough to fly. 

Sophie’s insurers, Insure and Go, would not cover the cost to fly her home with the medical care she needs.

Sophie misjudged the depth of a swimming pool a week into her dream six month trip to the Southeast Asian country.

Miss Wilson had dreamed of travelling around Asia for up to six months but is now hoping to come home 

She was rescued from drowning and rushed to hospital, fearing she was paralysed.   

Sophie, who managed a coffee shop in the UK, had earlier said she may never be able to walk again despite having two surgeries. She is now able to move just one arm.

She told iNews earlier this week: ‘Initially I was in shock, I never had any reason to believe the pool to have been so shallow as people were jumping and diving in before me. I never lost consciousness.

‘I couldn’t feel my body, just excruciating pain in my neck. I remember saying that I couldn’t feel my legs.

The Wilson family from Shepshed, Leicestershire (left to right): John, Sophie, Jane and Georgina

‘It is heartbreaking as I previously led a very active life style and the doubt of whether I will be able to walk again is hard to take.

‘But I believe that being negative will only make things harder. I’m lucky to still be here.’

Parents John and Jane rushed out to the country to be with their daughter after her accident in Pai in northern Thailand.   

Sophie’s sister 25, began a fundraising page for her.

She wrote: ‘Sophie is one of the bravest women you could ever wish to meet and she is our little miracle. Our wish now is to get her home as soon as is physically possible, so that she can begin her rehabilitation programme to support the recovery process and be re-united with her loving family, after what has been the most challenging time of our lives.’ 

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