Martin Wild, an integral member of the hard-working Whitchurch Alport Football Club committee, has spoken of his lows after returning home following a devastating spinal injury.

Martin has spent the last five months at the RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital in Gobowen after he was left unable to walk earlier this year but returned home last week.

He is still in a wheelchair but the popular media man at Yockings Park insists he is not ready to give up hope of walking again, and tells his story to the Herald in his own words.

He said: “The transition from hospital to home was something that filled myself and Jeanette with trepidation.

“After spending five-and-a-half months in Oswestry and it being my safe haven, you get used to the routine and being in there. I was so looking forward to coming home and the transition was so smooth.

“I’ve got a 24/7 care package in place. There’s lots of changes to make; I can’t be on the first floor of the house because I can’t walk yet and I don’t have the use of my fingers yet so I’m relying on someone else to do my writing for me.

“I’m enjoying it – I’ve slept well even though we’ve had to convert the dining room to a bedroom. I’m getting one-to-one care around the clock which is enabling Jeanette to have as normal a life as possible.

“I have not accepted that I am a disabled man. The visual for everyone is that I am sat in a wheelchair as the result of a spinal chord injury and there’s so many things people can’t see.

“That’s what’s given me the low and there’s been so many lows. But I’ve been supported by so many incredible people, so much so that we kept a log of all the people who came to see me and it was 126 different people who came through those ward doors.

“Some people were lucky to see visitors once a month so to all those, I would like to say thank you.

“But some came every single week and you could set your watch by them.

“Tony Rogers, Lesley Watson, Colin and Dot Sandland, ‘Scouse John’ – I don’t know his last name but he’s brilliant – and my mum and dad Ray and Irene.

“They made weekly visits from Bolton without fail; mum’s in a wheelchair so it shows how much commitment she had for that.

“We had a laugh about that. It shows that I might still be in a wheelchair, but I’m still Martin. People would say how they enjoyed the visitors because I was always in a positive frame of mind.

“That’s me. But I am honest in what I wrote in my first programme notes for Alport last week when I said often the furthest thing from my mind was wanting to see people.

“But anyone walking through the door wouldn’t have seen that because I never let them see that. All those people coming to see me kept me going.

“My natural positivity kept me going in the early stages but once I got into the fourth and fifth month, it was difficult to stay positive.

“I really want to thank my cousin Anthony Gornall. He’s my cousin but he was more like my brother and we’ve known each other for 55 years.

“He came to see me all the time but one night he came, he was coughing. I saw him another few times before he died of pneumonia and he also had lung cancer, which spread.

“The hospital were kind enough to arrange for me to go to see him one last time and I will miss him so much. The shame, from a selfish point of view, is that he would’ve helped me through this so much.

“He was such a positive person and he was gone so quickly. That was a big loss.

“I’m pleased that I was able to fight to go to see him – I’d have been mortified if I hadn’t made that trip.

“His son told me to come and see him straight away, that’s how quickly he deteriorated. Knowing I wouldn’t see him again hasn’t really sunk in and we’ve had his funeral.

“I’m in touch with his family to see how I could help them.

“I’ve still got a battle to win and Anthony would have wanted me to keep fighting and win it. Most importantly, he would’ve have wanted his family to help me too.

“They’ve been brilliant for me even in their grief.”

Martin also thanked his long-term partner for all the support she has given since his accident that left him in a wheelchair.

Martin writes the programme notes for Alport and has been a long-term contributor to the Whitchurch Herald as well as being part of nearby Shrewsbury Town’s media team, with who he went to Wembley with as part of communications for the Checkatrade Trophy Final in 2018.

Martin has spent the last five months hospitalised before making the transition home and he admits that until recently, he did not fully comprehend the impact of his injuries on Jeanette, with who he has been with for more than two decades.

A constant in the early stages of his recovery, Martin was full of praise for the love of his life.

“I really want to thank Jeanette, my partner of 21 years, who made 165 out of 170 days in hospital to see me,” said Martin.

“This return home for me gives her the chance of having four hours back a day.

“The realisation of what she’s done for me came a few weeks ago when I said something about what I’ve missed out on during the summer.

“She replied ‘me too’ and I realised that of course she’d missed it by making that constant trip to Oswestry.

“She’d come into work and then came home before going. A special mention to the company she works for and all the staff there at Dairy Spares and the owner too.

“Their support of me and Jeanette has been nothing short of magnificent.”

Martin has been at the forefront of some of Alport’s campaigns in recent years since joining the club on a more regular basis in in 2016.

In this, he has helped raise thousands of pounds for local causes, including helping to fund an operation for Whitchurch’s Zac Harris.

He admits the the reaction of fans, staff and players when he made his return to Yockings Park late last month has been something that will stay with him forever.

And he also insists that Jeanette – who is not a lover of ‘the beautiful game’ – now realises why Martin is in love with the Reds of Whitchurch.

Martin added: “Everyone at the club seemed to be really happy to see me back; not just the club officials or the players, but the fans too.

“I got told that last week someone was asked what their top three Alport memories are and they said one of them was seeing me back.

“That’s an amazing feeling to be so well thought so considering I’ve only been at the club for two-and-a-half years and I’ve been writing about them for nine.

“This journey we’re on is down to some fantastic people and their support to me has been incredible. Jeanette hates football but we’ve had six home games this year and she’s been to everyone.

“She realises why I put all those hours in to make help them make this town proud of us. Now she does realise and they’ve received her so warmly too.

“Yes, results are important but it’s not just about that – it’s about what you do as a club.

“I’ve experienced that first hand for what they’ve done for me and I couldn’t repay them enough.”