Balcony-fall dad Karl Nethercot back with family in Leicester
A father-of-six who suffered critical injuries in a fall from a hotel balcony has celebrated his 35th birthday with his family.
Karl Nethercot's relatives feared he would die after he fell two storeys while on holiday in Tunisia in October.
However, yesterday they said he was making good progress in his long-term recovery.
Karl, who now lives in Nottingham, spent Sunday with his parents Dawn and John at their home in Leicester's West End.
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The couple re-mortgaged their house to raise cash for Karl's medical bills after insurers refused to pay out as he had been drinking before he fell.
Karl's friends and family also raised thousands of pounds, both in Leicester and Nottingham, to help with the costs of getting him flown back to UK and his treatment.
Karl said: "It's been great to be back and enjoy my birthday with mum and dad and the family.
"I'm so grateful to so many people have helped to get me home.
"It's really touched me.
"It's strange hearing all these stories of people raising money for me and digging deep when I wasn't aware of it at all.
"It means so much to be back home with my family.
"My memories from the holiday are pretty good – probably a lot better than everyone else's who were worried for me.
"The last thing I can remember is lounging around by the pool and the heat.
"Next thing I know, I'm waking up at Queen's Medical Centre.
"I've had to learn to do quite a few things again, such as walking and balance.
"When they first asked me to take a step up, I thought it would be pretty easy but it was really hard work.
"I still get a little bit dizzy because of the injuries – I was putting Christmas decorations up the other day and just standing on the chair made me feel funny, so I had to stop.
"Things like that are pretty frustrating but I know I won't be as good as new tomorrow."
Mum Dawn said: "It has been lovely to have Karl back with us for his birthday.
"We have had a nice day, taking it easy, going out for lunch and then having the extended family round to see him.
"Karl is getting better all the time but it is nice for us to be able to look after him."
Karl has been undergoing rehabilitation in a specialist unit in Nottingham but was released at the end of November to return to his fiancee, Emma Husrazik.
They were set to celebrate the new year together yesterday.
Karl suffered severe brain injuries in his fall and was placed in an induced coma in hospital in Tunisia. His family had initially faced a bill of more than £20,000 to fly him back home on a specially commissioned flight but in the end he was well enough to return on a scheduled flight and was taken straight to Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, where he spent weeks in rehabilitation.
Karl's sister Mandi Dann, 38, said: "It's great to have Karl back – especially for mum and dad. They just want to look after him.
"He is making progress with remembering things and doing stuff. It's slow but at least it is progress."
She thanked everyone who has supported the family.