'I won't let thugs win' - Newport man who lost eye in attack rebuilds his life

'I won't let thugs win' - Newport man who lost eye in attack rebuilds his life

Former archer and photographer Chris Collins of Newport, who lost his left eye in an horrific attack on New Yerars Day 2014. He has now been given a prosthetic eye, which he claims is fantastic. (9888347)

Former archer and photographer Chris Collins of Newport, who lost his left eye in an horrific attack on New Yerars Day 2014. He has now been given a prosthetic eye, which he claims is fantastic. (9888339)

DAMAGE: The wounds inflicted by the attack on Mr Collins

Christopher Collins from Newport who lost an eye after being attacked on New Years Day (4162069)

First published in News
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“I DON’T want to let them win.” Those are the words of a Newport archer who lost an eye in a vicious New Year’s Day attack – but who has vowed not to let his injury keep him shut away.

Christopher Collins also made a heartfelt “thank you” to the people to helped him get his new prosthetic eye, and is helping his family organise a charity night for the hospital which fitted it.

In the early hours of January 1 this year, 55-year-old Mr Collins was walking home after a rare night out in Baneswell with friends and family, when he bumped into a group of men and was suddenly punched and pushed to the ground.

The attack by two of the men resulted in an injury so serious that he lost his right eye.

One of his attackers, Jay Lloyd, then 18, of Cedar Drive, Rogerstone, admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm without intent against Mr Collins by punching him and was sentenced to three years in jail.

The other, a 15-year-old who cannot be named, admitted common assault in pushing Mr Collins over and was handed a six-month referral order – sentences Mr Collins told the Argus were “a kick in the guts”.

But nine months on, and fitted with a realistic-looking prosthetic right eye, the former Welsh team archer paid tribute to the hospital staff at the Royal Gwent Hospital’s accident and emergency department, eye ward, the maxillofacial department and the prosthetics unit at Rookwood Hospital near Llandaff for helping him get his confidence back.

“The care I received at the Royal Gwent was absolutely brilliant, I can’t fault it at all,” said Mr Collins, who lives with wife Jayne, 45, who also shot for Wales in archery and helped her husband found the City of Newport archery club, which he intends to rejoin in October after training to shoot the other way around.

“They couldn’t fix (the eye) but they’ve put me in a position where I’m confident enough to go out and get on with life, which makes a huge difference.

“Big crowds I am still apprehensive of – I don’t know who will be in town. I don’t know who might be walking up the road beside me.”

In March Mr Collins had a mould taken of his eye and was fitted with a temporary prosthetic shell which connected to an implant inside his eye, attached to the inner muscles to give the new eye some movement.

In June at Rookwood Hospital he was fitted with the finished acrylic version – during which he and wife Jayne looked through dozens of artificial eyes with the orbital prosthetist, each with different pupil colours.

Now the prosthetic eye is identical in colour to his left.

“You used to see old fellas with glass eyes and it’s not been like that for a long time,” said Mr Collins, who also thanked his wife and family for their support.

“It’s a cup shape and fits behind your upper and lower eyelid, between there and the implant. It looks brilliant, better than I ever thought it would.”

Mr Collins had an eye test and was cleared to drive, with glasses, and has returned to his job as a precision engineer, but says everything is much more tiring – and his depth perception has been affected.

“You know those photographs where it looks like something far away is on top of someone’s head? That’s what my vision is like,” he explained.

“It’s been a hard year, without a shadow of a doubt.

“I still have bad days. But I get less of them now. Coping with work and driving is tough, but it’s no good shrinking into the corner and not doing anything, I’ve got to get on with it. It’s very easy to say, ‘I can’t do that’.

“Partly it’s that I don’t want to let them win.

“But it never goes away.”

l The Collins family, completed by daughters Tia and Bethan, are organising a Rookwood charity night at Baneswell Social Club on November 8 from 7.30pm with live music and raffle prizes. Tickets are £5 from the club or by emailing jaynecollins1@sky.com.

Comments (6)

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12:02pm Tue 2 Sep 14

Sing up for the amber boys says...

Best wishes to you Chris
Best wishes to you Chris Sing up for the amber boys
  • Score: 29

2:38pm Tue 2 Sep 14

Lockjoe says...

This is what a real man is made of!

Best wishes to you Chris.
This is what a real man is made of! Best wishes to you Chris. Lockjoe
  • Score: 24

5:54pm Tue 2 Sep 14

Vauxfiat says...

I agree with Lockjoe. Don't let them grind you down. All the best to you
I agree with Lockjoe. Don't let them grind you down. All the best to you Vauxfiat
  • Score: 14

6:46pm Tue 2 Sep 14

c collins says...

It's been a really hard year for us, but we are getting there with all the help and support we've received. So I would like to add a few specific "Thank You"s.

Thank you to all the staff at the Royal Gwent Hospital A+E dept. I'm sure it was hectic at that time of the morning on New Year's Day, although I can't remember much about it. Thanks for being there when I needed you.
Thanks to all the nurses and staff on the Eye Ward, RGH, during my 2 week stay. You were all brilliant. I couldn't have asked for better care.
Thanks to Mr Parkin and his team at the Maxillo-Facial Dept, RGH, for rebuilding my shattered eye socket and cheek.
Also thanks to Mr Hughes and his team at the Ophthalmology Dept, RGH, for doing their best to save my ruptured eye, and when that was not possible for doing the best they could for me in the circumstances.
Many thanks to my Orbital Prosthetist, Eluned Valivand, at the ALAC unit, Rookwood Hospital, Cardiff and everyone else involved in the making of my prosthetic eye.
Thanks to the investigating officers of Gwent Police who I know did everything they possibly could to try to get some justice for me, but unfortunately we were all let down badly by the CPS.
Huge thanks to my wife, Jayne and my daughters Tia and Bethan. Couldn't have done it without you. In fact thanks to all our family and friends, and some members of "joe public", for all the support we've had.
If I have missed anybody, I apologize.
It was not possible for them to save my eye, and there is no "fix" for my problem. I'm broken, and always will be. But I have been given the best chance possible to lead a relatively normal life again.
In the words of the late great Freddie Mercury...."The Show Must Go On".........Due to skill, brilliant care, love and support of everyone involved....this show will definitely go on.
Thank you all very much. I salute you.
It's been a really hard year for us, but we are getting there with all the help and support we've received. So I would like to add a few specific "Thank You"s. Thank you to all the staff at the Royal Gwent Hospital A+E dept. I'm sure it was hectic at that time of the morning on New Year's Day, although I can't remember much about it. Thanks for being there when I needed you. Thanks to all the nurses and staff on the Eye Ward, RGH, during my 2 week stay. You were all brilliant. I couldn't have asked for better care. Thanks to Mr Parkin and his team at the Maxillo-Facial Dept, RGH, for rebuilding my shattered eye socket and cheek. Also thanks to Mr Hughes and his team at the Ophthalmology Dept, RGH, for doing their best to save my ruptured eye, and when that was not possible for doing the best they could for me in the circumstances. Many thanks to my Orbital Prosthetist, Eluned Valivand, at the ALAC unit, Rookwood Hospital, Cardiff and everyone else involved in the making of my prosthetic eye. Thanks to the investigating officers of Gwent Police who I know did everything they possibly could to try to get some justice for me, but unfortunately we were all let down badly by the CPS. Huge thanks to my wife, Jayne and my daughters Tia and Bethan. Couldn't have done it without you. In fact thanks to all our family and friends, and some members of "joe public", for all the support we've had. If I have missed anybody, I apologize. It was not possible for them to save my eye, and there is no "fix" for my problem. I'm broken, and always will be. But I have been given the best chance possible to lead a relatively normal life again. In the words of the late great Freddie Mercury...."The Show Must Go On".........Due to skill, brilliant care, love and support of everyone involved....this show will definitely go on. Thank you all very much. I salute you. c collins
  • Score: 25

9:03pm Tue 2 Sep 14

theawesomewizard says...

I wish you all the best Chris you are an extremely Brave and Humble individual.
God bless You and Your Family M8.
Best wishes and kind regards
I wish you all the best Chris you are an extremely Brave and Humble individual. God bless You and Your Family M8. Best wishes and kind regards theawesomewizard
  • Score: 7

11:13am Wed 3 Sep 14

landyman3030 says...

Sentenced to 3 years and a 6 month referral order!!!
Not exactly a message to deter others from repeating this shameful assault is it?
CPS incompetence strikes again. What Justice system? This isn't justice.
I wish this brave gentleman and his family all the success and strength possible for the future.
Move forward and leave it behind you Sir.
Sentenced to 3 years and a 6 month referral order!!! Not exactly a message to deter others from repeating this shameful assault is it? CPS incompetence strikes again. What Justice system? This isn't justice. I wish this brave gentleman and his family all the success and strength possible for the future. Move forward and leave it behind you Sir. landyman3030
  • Score: 4

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