British backpacker paralysed from the chest down after horror abseiling accident while working in New Zealand

A BRITISH backpacker has been left paralysed from the chest down after a horror abseiling accident while on a dream holiday in New Zealand.

Matthew Williamson,who has been living the “Kiwi dream” for the past two years, severed his spinal cord after falling from the top of a ladder.

The 30-year-old works as an industrial abseiler, which involves skilled rope technicians operating in hard-to-reach locations.

Matthew had been working when he hit his head on a hatch and fell – leaving him paralysed from the chest down.

Friends and family are now raising money to get Matthew home to Newport, South Wales – and have already made £9,000.

Sister Danielle Williamson said: “The idea of trying to raise as much money as possible for my brother was that of his friends in New Zealand.

“Obviously the entire family are devastated at what has happened to my brother.

“He fell four metres off a ladder which is quite a way up.

“We are thankful to everyone who has donated money. It means a lot to us.

“The money is going to be going towards a flight to get him home. It will cost quite a bit.”

Matthew is being treated in Middlemore Hospital, Auckland, with the support of nurse girlfriend Justine Bennett, 26.

Friend Scott McKeon said: “Understandably he wants to come home after what has happened in Auckland.

“He has been left paralysed from the chest down – but he can move his arms which is great. He is currently at a spinal rehabilitation centre.

“He can only fly once he has had rehabilitation. That should take about three months – that is what we are all hoping for and so is Matt.”

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