Car crash heartbreak for disabled kayaker

Car crash heartbreak for disabled kayaker

Francis Batt

Car crash heartbreak for disabled kayaker

A disabled woman who enjoys kayaking and regularly races in her wheelchair has spoken about how she is fighting back after a devastating car crash.

Fiona Willstead, 33, broke her back in an accident when she was 19. But until the crash on Wednesday last week she went kayaking with Windsor Canoe Club every week.

She was on her way there in her specially adapted Toyota, when the crash with two other vehicles happened on the junction of Burfield Road and Priest Hill, Old Windsor, just before 6pm.

Fiona was injured, her car written off and her specially-powered racing wheelchair badly damaged. Firefighters and paramedics took an hour to free her.

Her beloved Weimaraner dog Walt, an 'assistance dog' given her by the charity Dog Aid, was also hurt in the crash.

This week Fiona was recovering at home in Harefield.

She said: "I had been hoping to do a para-triathlon and had gone for an assessment. I can't do it now. I had also hoped to do a marathon next year.

"My car is a write-off and I don't know if my wheelchair can be repaired or if I will ever have the money to do it."

Fiona added: "Poor Walt was hurt in the accident too, getting a shoulder injury and concussion. He keeps trying to get the straps I wore to go racing down off the rack and I have to tell him 'we can't do that any more mate'.

"I had been recovering from a fall last September but this has put me right back where I was. My pelvis has been redislocated.

"But I'm so grateful to the people who rescued me from the car so carefully, helping me to avoid worse injury."

The cause of the accident may have been bad weather and slippery surfaces.

No-one has been arrested by police.

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