Martin was as he called it finally after 12 years in service “living the dream” working within the Mounted Police division at West Yorkshire Police, when disaster struck in 2001!
Martin was riot guarding a football match, when a fight broke out, outside Bradford City Football grounds. Martin was thrown head first off his horse and trampled on, resulting in severe injuries; ruptured disc in spine, serious head injury (which has since resulted in Epilepsy) and a fractured pelvis where the horse stood.
Martin also suffered a seizure at the time of the incident and was very fortunate that there was a doctor close by who rushed to the scene to help or things could have been a lot worse. Martin was rushed to Bradford Royal Infirmary where he spent the following 6 weeks then moved closer to home at Pinderfields in Wakefield to continue his recovery.
Martin’s wife Rachel struggled on her own to hold everything together, who at the time of the accident had 3 young children; Daniel aged 3, Thomas 14 months and Mathew just 8 weeks old. These would be challenging times for any parent not least without the trauma of such a horrific accident to try and cope with.
Following Martin’s discharge from hospital he was admitted to the Police Treatment Centres for intensive physiotherapy and nursing and emotional support. The brain injury Martin had suffered had left him with an inability to control the things he said, he would find himself swearing uncontrollably and has along with the Epilepsy been left with short term memory loss.
The months following the accident Martin received numerous treatment sessions at the Police Treatment Centres in the hope that the rehabilitation would enable a full return to work. 18 months after the accident compulsory retirement was issued to Martin, with a 20 year pension pay out (topped up from his time within the military). Martin’s injuries had resulted in severe back problems preventing in him being able to walk very far, his brain injuries meant he was unable to take on any sort of clerical work and as such he was deemed unemployable and as such incapacitated from earning a living.
This news was of course life changing for Martin, at the age of just 36 to be told you could no longer work, with 3 young children and a wife who had to give up work herself to look after Martin, life was hard. Money was tight with a number of years left to pay off the mortgage on the family home and a young family to bring up, the future was daunting.
As a retired officer Martin was still eligible to access the services that the Police Treatment Centres offered and did so, on an adhoc basis for pain relief. It was as long as 2 years’ after the accident that by a fortunate coincidence one of the physio’s treating Martin mentioned the support that might be available to him from St George’s Police Children Trust. Unfortunately no message from the force/federation had ever been passed to Martin about this charity or in fact that he was eligible to receive support.
Martin completed the necessary paper work and was thrilled to start receiving quarterly payments for each child as a form of weekly support allowance, along with seasonal gifts to help at Christmas.
“The money we have received from St George’s has made such a difference to the boys lives, it has paid for all the extras; extra tuition, sports lessons, music lessons, not to mention just helping to cover the costs of bringing up a family of five. The trust has enabled our children to not miss out on all those extra things and has made life enjoyable. I can’t begin to imagine how different our lives would have been without the support we have received. Can’t begin to explain how grateful we are and so thankful for what they have done.
” (Martin Sowerby)
The support St George’s provided to the Sowerby family has in particular resulted in the boys achieving;
Daniel played Rugby for Yorkshire and won Young Sportsman Award in 2011.
Thomas county champion in boxing in 2013.
Mathew achieved an A* in music thanks to the guitar lessons he was given.
“The benefits from St George’s cannot be measured in words, the funding has enabled so many activities for the boys to get involved in, and I put this down to some extent to how they have turned out, they have grown up to be great young adults and things like that just can’t be measured.
” (Martin Sowerby)