A MOTHER-OF-TWO from York has been left paralysed after a freak accident during a pole-dancing exercise class.

Debbie Plowman, 32, of Haxby, suffered devastating injuries when she fell, breaking her neck and severely damaging her spinal cord.

After initial neck and head immobilisation at York Hospital, she was transferred to Hull Royal Infirmary for specialist care and surgery on her spine and head.

She was then transferred by air ambulance to the spinal injury unit at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, where she remains on a ventilator to enable her to breathe. At the moment, she is struggling to communicate and is doing so through a computer that tracks her eye movements.

Debbie is hoping to move closer to home next month through a transfer to the Lascelles neurological rehabilitations unit in Harrogate, where she is likely to remain for another six months.

Now her plight has inspired a massive fund-raising drive by relatives and friends, including a Three Peaks walk, a sports dinner at York Racecourse this autumn and a sponsored ascent of Kilimanjaro next autumn. Money raised will go to a Trust fund being set up to help Debbie, and also for Spinal Research UK.

Debbie, who worked at the Tesco store at Clifton Moor and has two young children, Jack, five, and Ruby, two, had been doing pole-dancing exercise classes for two years before the accident happened.

She was injured during a class at a studio on a night out with friends in York just before Christmas last year.

Chris said she was upside down, just a foot above the ground, when she fell on her head and was knocked unconscious. “Fortunately, one of her friends was a nurse and knew what to do, otherwise I think she would have died,” he said.

He said he got a call to say Debbie had been hurt and rushed to A & E at York Hospital, and realised something was badly wrong when he had to go through to the intensive care section. He was then told about the terrible injury she had suffered.

“The whole thing felt surreal,” he said. “You feel that these things happen to other people and not to you.

“This has been a heartbreaking experience for me and my two children. Debbie was and still is a fantastic mum, an amazingly beautiful wife and the most caring and honest person anyone could want to meet.

“We have been married for seven years and been together for nearly 14 years. We make a great team, and are a very close couple who are best mates.

“Without the support of my large, strong and close family, and brilliant friends, this would all have been too much for anyone to cope with.”

Chris, a well-known local rugby player who has played for Heworth and BARLA Great Britain, said Debbie still had feeling from her head to her feet, and had recently had some movement in her neck, shoulders and abdomen but, unfortunately, was suffering terrible pains in her arms. He said a series of scans had revealed no evidence of any brain damage.

He hoped for further improvements in her condition, although it might not be clear for another two or three years how much progress would be made.

Trust launched to help paralysed mother-of-two

FRIENDS and family of Debbie Plowman have launched a massive drive to raise tens of thousands of pounds to help her when she eventually leaves hospital.

Chris said he was in the process of setting up the Debbie Plowman Happy Faces Trust, with the first aim being to buy a specially adapted vehicle for her to travel in.

“We have already participated in a five-a-side event at ROKO gym at Clifton Moor, and a Yorkshire Three Peaks Walk,” he said.

He revealed a major fundraising event was already being planned for 2011 – a sponsored ascent of Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, by 35 people, with 25 already signed up to take part.

The biggest event to happen this year would be a major sports dinner at York Racecourse on October 23, with former international Rugby League and Rugby Union wing three-quarter John Bentley appearing as guest speaker.

Tickets for the event, costing £50 a person, or £500 for a table of ten, can be obtained by phoning Trevor Plowman on 07779 185669, Jason Lowery on 07827 914762, or Darren Wheatley on 07711 874407 or emailing chris@plowmanelectrical.co.uk