THE young victim of a freak accident on Whitby beach made an emotional visit home on Friday, for the first time since he was paralysed for life.
Brave Dale Milne was allowed to visit friends and family at his St Peter’s Court home after spending the past five months in Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital.
The Gazette was invited to meet the 15-year-old, and for the first time he was able to retell the events of that day.
Dale said: “I remember I was with my girlfriend at the time, and loads of friends.
“We went to muck around in the water while the rest of them stayed
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with the stuff.
“I turned around and saw there was a wave coming, so I ran.
“I didn’t realise I was standing in ankle-deep water and I dived in.”
By diving into water that was too shallow Dale banged his head and suffered an injury that instantly paralysed him from the neck downwards, and so he was left floating helpless in the water.
He said: “I opened my eyes and I was upside down in the water for a couple of seconds, a minute maybe, and then all I could hear was people shouting out my name.
“Two random people saw me floating and dragged me out and the next thing I know I’m just laid down with a lot of people crowded around me.
“I couldn’t feel any part of my body and I just lay there crying.”
Friend Jordan Robinson was on the beach when the accident happened and said: “Me and Josh were messing around and Tanya came over crying.
“I was just really scared, I didn’t know what was happening.”
An air ambulance carried the Whitby Community College student to James Cook University Hospital, where his family was confronted with heartbreaking news.
He added: “My mum and dad told me after my scans that basically, what you see is what you get, that I was going to be paralysed for life.”
Mum Louise said: “You can’t hide the truth from him, he’s too clever for that.
“He didn’t react, he just said ‘oh’ and that was it.
“He isn’t going to let it defeat him or bother him, although of course he has his good days and his bad days.”
Each weekday Dale is taken from his hospital ward to the rehabilitation clinic, where he undertakes stretching exercises for his arms and legs.
Eventually science-fan Dale will return to school, but until then his goal is to restore movement in his hands so he can play computer games.
The family, including dad Ian and siblings Jordan and Kelsey, would like to thank everyone who has offered their support.
“The whole of the community has come together for us,” said Ian, “I will never say a bad word about Whitby again.
“Without their help I don’t think we could have carried on.
“If I go into town I have to leave an hour early because I can’t go more than a couple of hundred yards without someone asking how he’s doing.
“I feel great telling them how much progress he’s made.”
The visit home was restricted by the house not having adequate facilities installed yet, but the youngster said: “It’s definitely one of the best things that’s happened since the accident.
“It’s got me out of hospital and back home.”
Check out Friday’s Gazette for news of the family’s battle to get Dale moved home permanently for Christmas.