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Monday, 01 September 2014

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Man breaks back in four places in cycling accident

A cyclist is recovering in hospital after breaking his back in four places.

Ian Curwen, communications manager for Copeland council, was cycling with friends on Sunday morning when the accident happened.

The 31-year-old, who is originally from Thornhill, near Egremont, and now lives at Bransty, near Whitehaven, with girlfriend Kim Kinsella, was knocked unconscious in the crash.

“He was coming down Cold Fell [the country road which runs between Egremont and Ennerdale] and gathering speed,” a friend said. “I get the impression that he just lost control of his bike.”

Mr Curwen was thrown off his bicycle, smashing his helmet. He was initially taken to the West Cumberland Hospital, in Whitehaven, and then transferred to the spinal unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.

He underwent surgery on his back this morning.

It has since emerged that while Mr Curwen has fractured his back in four separate places, he has been “lucky” and so far retained movement in all of his limbs.

His father Billy Curwen, who lives at Thornhill, said: “Although Ian has four spinal fractures, we think he has been a lucky lad: It could have been worse.

“The fractures are high up and he has movement in every limb, which is good and we are hoping for the very best.

Friends are also crediting Mr Curwen’s cycle helmet with saving his life – and highlighting the importance of wearing one. They say that the destruction of the helmet in the crash shows the force of the impact.

Copeland council’s chief executive Paul Walker said: “We were all very sorry to hear about the accident and wish Ian all the best for a speedy recovery.”

As news of Mr Curwen’s accident emerged, friends and colleagues took to the social networking site Twitter to wish him their best.

Mr Curwen himself wrote on Twitter to explain his situation to a man calling for the communications officer to explain comments on the nuclear repository debate.

He wrote: “I’ve fell off my bike and broke my back, so this issue is not currently top of my list of priorities, sorry.”

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