Fantastic friends! They raise £3,500 for pal injured at work

True friends: Mark  Priestley with his fund-raising friends at the Stump Cross Inn, Shibden
True friends: Mark Priestley with his fund-raising friends at the Stump Cross Inn, Shibden
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Friends of a man who broke his back at work have raised £3,500 for him and his family.

Mark Priestley, 34, from Clare Mount, Halifax, was left wheelchair bound when a steel beam fell on him while he worked at Elland Steel.

Since the accident in January, Mark has been living at Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, five days a week.

He is allowed home at weekends to be with wife Stacey and their son Lenny, three.

Doctors told Mark they didn’t know if he would ever walk again because of the seriousness of the spinal injury he suffered.

But through willpower and determination, he recently took his first few steps on the road to recovery.

“The doctors couldn’t tell me how long it would be before I walked again, if ever,” said Mark.

“I have physiotheraphy twice a day every day during the week and it seems to be working because I’ve walked a few steps.

“But I’m just taking it one day at a time and not setting myself any targets because it’s a very slow process.”

Although he misses his family, Mark is in regular contact with them and hopes to be home permanently soon.

“I don’t get to see them every day because it’s quite a trek to the hospital but I speak to them every day.

“I miss them and simple things like going for a pint with my mates.

“Hopefully I’ll be discharged in the next four or five weeks and continue doing my physiotherapy in Halifax.”

On May 14, Mark’s friend and colleague Matthew Tuck and a group of 20 people walked eight miles in Malham, in the Dales, to raise money for Mark and his family.

Matthew, 43, said: “Mark is still getting his basic wage but he did a lot of overtime and I just thought that doing something like this would put a few quid in his pocket.

Mark added: “On behalf of me and my family, I’d like to thank everyone who did the walk and the people who donated.

“The response has been completely overwhelming.”