Dad targets schools with helmet safety message
THE father of a teenager who is still in a coma after he was involved in a collision while cycling to work, has started educating children on the importance of wearing a cycle helmet.
Ryan Smith, 16, from Chapel St Leonards is now at Lincoln County Hospital's Ashby ward as he continues slow progress in recovering from a collision with a van.
He was cycling to work at the time but was not wearing a helmet because he did not want to ruin his hairstyle.
His father, Mark, has now started giving talks in schools to encourage more students to wear a cycle helmet.
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The talks started on Monday at King Edward VI Grammar School in Louth.
He said: "We used the Youtube video of Ryan in hospital we put together to help get the message across.
"At King Edward's all the Year 7 pupils put their hands up to say they have a bike but only half said they wear a helmet.
"After watching the YouTube video, they all put their hands up to say they will now definitely wear a helmet.
"That is the impact we want.
"We have been inundated with schools wanting us to go in to talk to the kids.
"Targeting schools is an important thing as we would not want any other parents to go through what we have had to."
Ryan has had his tracheotomy removed which means he is now breathing unaided. His eyes are also open.
Mark said: "Physio are working hard with him with such things as helping him be ready to sit in chairs.
"Even though he is still in a coma, he looks so much better.
"He is making very small steps. Considering we are at week nine, he is doing remarkably."
Shakila Roy, PSHE coordinator at King Edward VI Grammar School in Louth said a student suggested the idea about Mark coming into school.
Shakila said: "Through the PSHE curriculum, we encourage students to suggest things for what they want to learn about and the school was more than happy to host Mark for a PSHE assembly.
"The students were really moved.
"They all learnt a very important lesson not to neglect the need to wear a cycle helmet just because of your hairstyle."
Fundraising events are also continuing for the Ryan Smith Foundation.
A charity fight night at SFK Gym in Skegness took place on Sunday and has raised around £3,750.
The Phoenix Care Home in Chapel St Leonards is holding a coffee morning with stalls on Friday, September 27 from 10am with all proceeds for the Ryan Smith Foundation.
For all the latest updates, visit the Ryan Smith Foundation Facebook page or www.eastlindseytarget.co.uk/RyanSmith