Sonny: It's good to be home

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Children have fun during the 1999 Lord Mayors Show in Portsmouth. MAYOAK0002889345

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Sonny Wells smiled with delight as he returned home to his family for the first time since being paralysed jumping from a pier.

Sonny broke his neck 'tombstoning' and was allowed out of hospital to celebrate his 21st birthday.

After having his hair cut the former soldier went out for a family meal and popped along to his local for a drink.

It is almost four months since the day Sonny's life changed forever after leaping 30ft off South Parade Pier, in Southsea, into shallow water.

Unable to move from the chest down, he has undergone weeks of rehabilitation, but is determined to live a life as normal as possible.

'The rehab is hard work but I have learned a lot and I'm proud of myself,' he said.

'After it happened I was just lying in bed not able to do anything. Now I can dress myself, get out of bed and feed myself. The improvements I have made in the past three months are unreal.

'At first I thought I would need 24-hour care but it's just about learning new things and putting them into practice. I don't really need to rely on anybody else to do most things. I just try to get on with it.'

After leaving hospital on Saturday, Sonny visited his home in Woodsedge, in Waterlooville.

He then went to The Farmhouse in Burrfields Road, Portsmouth, for lunch with 35 other family members before going to his local pub, The Wellington, in London Road, Waterlooville, to meet his friends.

Sonny then went back to Salisbury hospital where he will stay for the next few months to continue his recuperation.

Mum Jacqui Unal said: 'He is doing fantastically well. It's all down to his determination.

'He has had his moments but he has been positive all the way through and he is not asking for anybody's sympathy.

'I just want to see him do his best and get back to as normal a life as possible.'

Sonny's older brother Robbie, who will become a father for the first time next March, said: 'We have all been waiting for this day for a long time. I haven't been able to look forward to anything in a while.

'He has never changed. That is Sonny through and through. He has always been a joker but even more now.

'When I saw him at home it's like he was back where he belongs.

'He has to go back to hospital but we will have a proper party for him when he gets out of hospital for good, hopefully in December.'

Sonny's grandmother Sandra Polley, who lives in Havant, said it was a miracle how much progress her grandson had made in just under four months.

She said: 'It's great to see him home with his family again. A few months back we didn't think we would see this day.

'He has had his ups and downs but we are very proud of him and how well he has done. I think his sense of humour has got him through.

'We still have a long way to go though.'

Sonny's dad Robert Wells said the family is determined to stay positive to aid his recovery.

The 44-year-old, of Liddiards Way, Purbrook, said: 'We are staying positive and are just going to deal with the things that come our way. He wants to sort himself out and live on his own.

'He has really applied himself and we don't want him to lose sight of that end goal.'

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