A NEWPORT-BORN man has been left paralysed from the chest down after falling four metres off a ladder in New Zealand.

Matthew Williamson had been living and working in New Zealand for the past two years, when on Tuesday, November 28 he fell from a ladder after hitting his head on a hatch door and damaged his spinal cord.

Friends and family of Mr Williamson have since set up a fundraising page to help get him back home.

So far, more than 260 people have helped raise just under £9,000 for the 30-year-old.

Sister Danielle Williamson, who lives in Newport, said the family was grateful for the current donated sum of money.

She said: "The idea of trying to raise as much money as possible for my brother was that of his friends in New Zealand.

"Obviously the entire family are devastated at what has happened to my brother. He fell four metres off a ladder which is quite a way up.

"We are thankful to everyone who has donated money. It means a lot to us. The money is going to be going towards a flight to get him home. It will cost quite a bit."

Mr Williamson is currently being treated in Middlemore Hospital, Auckland.

Friend Scott McKeon, who lives in Rogiet, described Mr Williamson as a "larger than life" character.

"I have known him since primary school in Caldicot," said the 30-year-old.

"He is a great guy to be around and is always up beat.

"Understandably he wants to come home after what has happened in Auckland. He has been left paralysed from the chest down - but he can move his arms which is great."

He added: "I know Matt well and that is how I know he will pull through this."

Mr McKeon said his friend hoped to be home in about three months.

He said: "He is currently at a spinal rehabilition centre.

"He can only fly once he has had rehabilitation. That should take about three months - that is what we are all hoping for and so is Matt.

"Because of what has happened Matt cannot just get on a plane and fly home.

"I hope people keep on donating for my friend."

For more information or to donate to help Mr Williamson come home, visit www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/lets-get-matthew-home