John's recovery suffers a setback

PUBLISHED: 01:01 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 08:48 10 June 2010

EXMOUTH grandfather John Hearn, who broke his spine in an accident just weeks before Christmas, has suffered a devastating setback in his recovery following a second fall. John, 61, had been making promising progress since falling down a flight of stairs

EXMOUTH grandfather John Hearn, who broke his spine in an accident just weeks before Christmas, has suffered a devastating setback in his recovery following a second fall.John, 61, had been making promising progress since falling down a flight of stairs - and even surprised doctors by managing to stand just days after a six-hour operation to repair his spine.But a second fall, this time injuring his lower spine, has left John, and wife of 38 years, Barbara, 59, devastated.Said Barbara: "John had been doing so well with his progress."He was recently given a wheelchair and was like a child with a new toy because he had some of his independence back."This second fall has been a nightmare."I am hopeful he will bounce back quickly, but doctors are saying he may be in hospital for two years."I am trying to be positive and stay strong when I am around him, but it is an incredibly stressful time."The couple, who own Exmouth Art Gallery - where John had the fall - said they have been overwhelmed by the support they have received from the people of Exmouth, and have extended their gratitude to the band of volunteers who have helped to ensure the gallery has remained open for business.Barbara is keeping her spirits up by painting, and witnessing the recent birth of her fourth grandchild has given her a timely boost.She is able to visit John twice a day and has bought him a CD player to keep his spirits up.The mother-of-two, who opened the gallery five years ago after beating breast cancer, says her answerphone has been overwhelmed with messages and has asked anybody who has a message of support to drop a note into the gallery, where she will post updates on John's progress."It is an incredibly difficult time, and there is so much going on, and I am thankful to everyone who has supported the gallery."It is John's wish to keep it open and we hope to have some big events coming up soon."Exmouth Art Gallery is open on Friday and Saturday, from 10am to 4pm.

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