A 22 year old Middlesbrough man, Mark Cook, was today celebrating his £2.5M compensation settlement following a horrific car accident in 2001. The compensation was secured with the support of the Middlesbrough branch of national solicitors Thompsons.

During the tragic crash, Mark sustained a severe spinal cord injury which has left him paralysed and confined to a wheelchair.

Mark is delighted with the compensation award. He explains: “I know just how lucky I am. If it wasn’t for the fire-fighters and paramedics who got me out of the car I wouldn’t be here today. They are all heroes. I’m also so very grateful to all the fantastic staff at the James Cook University Hospital and in particular at the Spinal Assessment Unit. I also have to say a big thank you to my Mam Maxine. I’ve had to rely on her so much since the accident and she has been terrific and I thank her from the bottom of my heart.

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Finally, without the support of my solicitor Andrew McDonald, this compensation would not have been possible. The money can never turn the clock back or make up for my suffering, but it can help me to try and lead as normal a life as possible.”

Andrew McDonald from Thompsons in Middlesbrough comments: “This has been a long journey for Mark. He is quite a remarkable young man. He’s shown amazing courage in dealing with his disability and great resolve and determination in seeing his case through to such a successful conclusion. His fortitude and strength of character is really humbling.”

"This is of course a very large sum of money but it has to last Mark for the rest of his life. No amount of money could ever compensate him for the loss of so much independence but this settlement will help to give him a much more independent future. Mark is such a determined character his future is undoubtedly bright. He’s even going to be taking up wheelchair Rugby!”

Since his road accident, Mark has benefited from the support of a number of local social clubs including The Priory and The Beechwood and EasterSide Social Clubs. The local radio station -TFM "Make a Child Smile" project also helped by raising funds to send Mark to France for some experimental laser treatment on his spine.

Mark now has his own adapted car and has passed his test. Furthermore, he will hopefully be moving into a newly adapted home later this year.