A COMMUNITY has rallied behind a much-respected town figure after a deer knocked him off his bike, leaving him partly paralysed.
The freak accident happened between Risby and Fornham All Saints, near Bury St Edmunds, when Peter Seaman, of Eye, was riding back from West Stow Country Park with other members of Diss and District Cycling Club on April 22.
Such has been the demand from people in Eye wanting to see him at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridgeshire since then, Tessa Prior, owner of the town’s Queen’s Head pub, has had to compile a rota.
Mr Seaman’s son, Daniel, said: “This has been a life-changing event for my father, but he is showing a lot of fortitude, and has a realistic outlook on life, which is helping him.
“He was always out and about, cycling and sailing, and led a very active life.
“What has happened is one of those impossible-to-imagine situations, and my father has his up days and down days.
“However, the support from his friends and people in Eye has been immense, and is a real boost.”
According to Mick Madgett, who is a member of the cycling club and has known Mr Seaman for a number of years, a roe deer jumped out from a hedge on the side of the road as the group cycled past.
He said: “Peter was pole-axed, coming clean off his bike, and I think the deer also then landed on top of him.
“It was a complete one-off - myself and others in the club have ridden for decades, and have never seen an accident like it.”
He added that Mr Seaman’s helmet had a crack with deer hair in it after the incident, in which Mr Seaman suffered severe damage to his spinal cord, and has been left paralysed in his legs.
Although he is not paralysed in his arms, there is the possibility that the 68-year-old has been rendered paralysed in his hands.
Daniel added that his father now has a significant period of rehabilitation to come, and is likely to spend the next three to six months in hospital.
Mr Seaman moved to Eye about 15 years ago, and attended Stowmarket Grammar School.
He used to work for IBM, but since retiring, has been working part-time as a wind farm campaigner.
Roe deers, although one of the smaller varieties of the species, can weigh up to 30kg.