Harry Potter stunt changed my life

Southend Standard: David Holmes was paralysed while filming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows David Holmes was paralysed while filming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

A STUNTMAN paralysed while filming Harry Potter said he has not let his disability hold him back.

David Holmes, 30, was left paralysed from the chest down with only limited use of his arms and hands after a freak accident during the filming of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2009.

He had worked as Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double since the first film in the series, The Philosophers’ Stone, but broke his neck in January 2009 during a scene in which he was quickly pulled backwards on a high-strength wire.

The stunt is meant to replicate the effects of an explosion, but Mr Holmes was slammed into a wall during the ‘jerk back’ scene.

Mr Radcliffe and Draco Malfoy actor Tom Felton visited him while he was recovering in the Royal Northern Orthodpaedic Hospital in Stanmore, North west London, which he now represents as an appeal ambassador.

In an interview with a national newspaper, he said: “I spent time rehabilitating at the Royal after my accident and the hospital’s sheer dedication got me through that difficult time. I had a hugely supportive medical team around me from the moment I arrived and was given fantastic support.”

Talking of his accident, Mr Holmes, who lives in Leigh, said: “I hit the wall and then landed on the crash mat underneath.

“My stunt co-ordinator grabbed my hand and said, “Squeeze my fingers”.

“I could move my arm to grab his hand, but I couldn’t squeeze his fingers. I looked into his eyes and that’s when I realised what happened was major.”

However, he was determined to move on and not allow his disability to define him so, after a gruelling regime of physio at the hospital, he launched production company Ripple Productions with two friends who are tetraplegic.

He nowdrives a speciallymodified car, which uses a “pushpull”

hand control system to accelerate and brake, at speeds of 150mph around race tracks.

In 2011, Southend Council approved plans for him to have a specially-designed home built.

He said: “I haven’t let my accident affect my outlook on life and I am still very determined and positive.

“I also haven’t let it hold me back, and I still enjoy track days racing my car, going on holidays with my friends and I am now looking forward to starting a new career.”

As part of his appeal work, Mr Holmes is helping the hospital raise £15million for additional facilities and equipment .

He said: “Every eight hours someone in the UK is told they will never walk again. Without places like the Royal things would look much bleaker for those people.

The support they gave me was incredible.”

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