Hayling Island family’s joy as injured diver writes his name

INJURED Terry Dukes
INJURED Terry Dukes
Jerry Williams. Picture by Shotbyphox

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A DIVER who is in hospital with a critical head injury has shown signs of making a recovery – by writing his name.

Terry Dukes was given a pen and piece of paper by his bedside at Queen Alexandra Hospital, where he has been since returning from Borneo last month.

To his family’s amazement, the 49-year-old was able to write his name with his right hand – even though he is left-handed.

Terry has not spoken since his accident in January and the left side of his body has also been partially paralysed.

As previously reported, the Sultan of Brunei stepped in to pay for him to be flown back by air ambulance to continue treatment on his head injury, sustained after a bad fall on a pavement.

Terry, who grew up in North End, has been living in Borneo for many years, working as a diver and marine biologist.

Parents Jane and Johnny Dukes, of Bembridge Drive, Hayling Island, described their joy at seeing Terry write.

Mrs Dukes, 88, who has been visiting her son almost every day since he returned, said: ‘We gave him a pen and first of all he wrote “What?”

‘We asked him “could you write your name?” – and he did.

‘Later he wrote my name, Johnny’s name and his brother’s name.

‘Some words we could not understand but these were very plain.

‘We were absolutely astounded. We had no idea.

‘He’s left-handed, but his left side is not working so well. He wrote with his right hand.

‘It was amazing that he was forming words.’

Mrs Dukes is confident her son will make a good recovery – but knows the journey may be a long and hard one.’

She added: ‘They sit him up and he’s able to hold it for a while now.

‘He seems to be coming along. He’s still on an intravenous feed. He’s got a long way to go, but I am sure he will get there. He answers us when we speak to him, he seems to know exactly what’s going on.

‘We are pretty certain he will come back eventually to how he was.’

A fundraising campaign to help pay for Terry’s care when he gets out of hospital is now well under way.

It is spearheaded by his cousin, Guardian journalist Carole Jahme, and more than £1,000 has been pledged for the cause.

As he has no medical insurance, all Terry’s possessions had to be sold to pay for numerous operations at Ripas Hospital, Brunei – including removing part of his skull to relieve pressure on his brain.

Ms Jahme wrote to the Sultan asking for his help to get Terry back to the UK.

To the family’s surprise, he agreed to cover the transport bill on a specialist air ambulance.

More details have also emerged about how Terry sustained the fracture to his skull.

Mrs Dukes added: ‘All we know is he fell when he got out of a car.

‘‘He got out of a car and pulled the door back to let someone else out.

‘He lost his balance and fell backwards.’

To donate to Terry’s cause visit justgiving.com/carole-jahme