A man who almost died when he was assaulted in Morpeth two years ago will get on his bike for a long-distance ride to support a good cause.
Wayne Urwin was the victim of an attack that saw him spend 12 days in an induced coma as his injuries were very severe.
He needed to have emergency surgery to remove part of his skull at the RVI in Newcastle.
The family of the dad-of-two was told that even if he did survive, he could be left badly brain damaged.
Although he is still dealing with the effects of the incident, he has recovered to the point where he now lives independently.
And the 37-year-old is now preparing to do the Coast to Coast (C2C) cycle from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Tynemouth – a distance of 140 miles.
The ride is scheduled to finish on March 30, the second anniversary of the attack.
Mr Urwin said: “The injuries have affected me for life and I have short-term memory loss and epilepsy as a result of what has happened.
“But I have managed to get back walking, talking and cycling and know that others who have been through something similar have not been as fortunate.
“I was a keen cyclist before the incident and I’ve done numerous long-distance routes, including the Great North Bike Ride and the C2C.
“I decided that it would be a good idea to do the C2C this spring to have something to focus on and give me the incentive to get out on the bike again after the Christmas period. It will be beneficial to my continuing recovery.
“I think it’s a great example to my kids to see their dad progress and succeed through adversity.
“I’m also doing it to raise money for The People’s Kitchen, which supports the homeless and disadvantaged in the Newcastle area.
“Thankfully, I had somewhere to go when I could no longer afford to live in my flat but if I didn’t, due to a set of circumstances beyond my control, I could have very easily ended up homeless.
“We are all just a few bad choices or run of bad luck away from being on the streets, which is why charities like The People’s Kitchen are so important and should be supported.
“My balance has been affected and running is difficult, but I’m able to cycle without feeling too strange.
“I’m doing the C2C over four days, so I don’t have the time pressure. I can plod on and get through the miles.”
He was assaulted by Aaron Robson in an alleyway near the Shambles pub in Morpeth town centre in March 2014.
The punch caused Mr Urwin to fall and smash his head on the ground and he suffered severe bleeding to his brain.
Robson was sentenced to three years and two months in prison after he pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm without intent at Newcastle Crown Court.
At a hearing at London’s Appeal Court, the term was cut to two years and four months after Mr Justice Simon deemed the original sentence failed to sufficiently reflect Robson’s guilty plea.
Mr Urwin, who used to live in Cramlington, suffered from chronic fatigue after leaving hospital and he had to return to hospital to receive treatment for a serious infection.
But after recovering from this, his condition has steadily improved with support from a brain injury team and a psychologist has helped to keep him in a positive frame of mind.
He used to be a warehouse manager and he is hoping to get a job with the same company that employed him in this role in the near future.
Mr Urwin said: “I’ve worked hard to get better, step by step. Exercise has been a big help and setting goals and staying positive has been very useful.
“I’m very grateful to the doctors at the RVI for saving my life and the brain injury team and psychologist for their support.
“Members of my family have been amazing and the support from my dad and girlfriend in particular has been fantastic – I couldn’t have got to where I am now without them.
“I’ve got a solid base of close friends that I’ve known for a long time who have been very helpful and they’re not bothered that I can’t go out drinking anymore.
“The main thing I’ve learned from all this is that no matter what you are told when something horrific happens to you, you can fight and work hard to lead an independent life.
“I hope that people who have suffered brain injuries that read my story find it an inspiration to continue to improve and reach their goals – positivity over negativity will always win.”
He did live with his mum in Gateshead for a period after leaving hospital. Today, Mr Urwin lives in Seaton Delaval.
To make a donation to his C2C fund-raising, visit www.justgiving.com/Waynec2cUrwin?utm_id=26