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Widnes groom left in coma after suffering head injuries on stag weekend in Tenerife
A BRIDEGROOM who suffered serious head injuries on his stag weekend in Tenerife is still unable to talk or walk.
Keen rugby player Mark Shepard, aged 30, from Widnes, was celebrating his forthcoming wedding with his brothers and friends when he fell and hit his head on a stone pillar.
He was in a coma and spent three weeks in hospital in the Canary Islands before being airlifted to Whiston Hospital.
He is now receiving care at a specialist unit in Netherley. He can breathe on his own and is not on any machines.
Consultants are confident he could recover but don’t know how long it could take.
As Widnes Vikings all stars play a charity match for him on Sunday, his family has spoken for the first time since his accident on June 1.
He was to have married his 29-year-old fiancee Deborah Taylor on July 9.
Mark’s dad William, aged 54, said: “It has been very hard for all of us.
“The severity of the brain damage means they don’t know how long it will take.
“He can recognise all of us. If we say ‘where is mum, dad, or Debbie?, he will move his head and look around at us.
“He can understand everything that is being said but he can’t correspond with us.
“He is not paralysed. It’s his brain injury that won’t let him move.”
Former SS Peter and Paul student Mark was selected for St Marie’s when he was only six and played rugby for Simms Cross.
Mark, of Burnsall Drive, Hough Green, only gave up rugby to concentrate on his job as an engineer with Guinness in Runcorn.
His dad said: “His general health is quite good because he is a fit boy from playing rugby.
“The doctors say in terms of brain injury, it is still quite early. In time, they believe he may be able to move.”
He said Deborah, a traffic clerk, is constantly at his side with his family.
William said: “Debbie has been a tower of strength. She has done really well.
“We are very grateful and humbled by the response we’ve had from everyone in the town for Mark.
“They’ve helped to raise a lot of money which we have put into a special account for him so if he needs anything, the funds are there.”
Mark’s mum Bernadette, sister Katie and brothers Gareth, Craig and Darren would like to thank everyone for their support.
- WIDNES Vikings all stars will be playing Halton Simms Cross amateur rugby team at a charity match in aid of Mark Shepard.
The game kicks off at 1.30pm at Gossages Rec in Dundalk Road, Widnes, on Sunday.
The team will include former players such as Mark Foster, Sean Richardson, Tane Manihera and Phil Hassan.
They will be coached by ex-Vikings assistant coach, Stuart Wilkinson, assisted by John Stankevitch. Halton Simms Cross will be coached by Alan Billington assisted by Phil Fox.
Fundraising will continue from 7pm at Widnes Bowling Club, next to Stobart Stadium in Lowerhouse Lane.
Both events are being organised by Leam Fox, whose dad coaches Halton Simms Cross.
Leam, aged 32, of Regent Road, Widnes, said: “I know Mark’s dad and just wanted to do something to help.
“Loads of ex pro Widnes players have offered to help. It will be a great game. I’m hoping as many people as possible will turn up and support them.”
Admission is free. People will be invited to make donations.