Some of you know me, and a few of you know about my son Murray, but many of you don’t. However, this is a tale about something that could happen to any of us…
Murray was a very active 21 year old, a bit of a character, and was often in trouble. He also loved sport; he was signed to Billericay Town as a youth player and was often featured in fishing magazines. He was also a keen musician, playing guitar and drums, and was even working on a new track with Dem 2 of Destiny fame. Put simply, he had his whole life ahead of him. He was also a DJ, just like all of us.
Murray was one of the resident DJs at Stock Brook Manor in Billericay. On the evening of 20th August 2009 he had played at a wedding and all had gone well. After the gig he had made plans to meet his friends for a night of clubbing. Just like me, he was very conscious of his clothes, so decided to quickly drive home after the gig to get changed before heading out with his friends.
Unfortunately that didn’t happen. Instead, that night we had the late night knock on the door that every parent dreads! Whilst driving home, way too fast, a fox ran out in front of Murray. His reflexes cut in, he tried to avoid the fox, and lost control of his car. It span 360 degrees, hit a wall, and a telegraph pole. Murray wasn’t wearing his seatbelt and was thrown around inside his car and violently hit his head. This moment forever changed his life and that of many others.
Witnesses tell us that he was crumpled up in a ball in the door well of the passenger side when they found him. They were unable to get to him, as both doors were crushed and couldn’t be opened, so they stood back and waited for an ambulance and firebrigade. However, before they managed to arrive, the people noticed that the inside of the car had caught fire.
Murray’s friend, Rick, who had also been driving home from Stock Brook Manor stopped to help and shouted at the crowd that they needed to get Murray out, but older people told him that it was too dangerous and held him back. Fortunately, together with another young man, Rick broke free and kicked the windscreen in. They pulled Murray out and carried him to safety, literally with only 40 seconds to spare before the car was completely engulfed in flames. These young men are true heroes.
At the hospital we were told that the chances of Murray surviving until the morning were close to zero. But he did. Then we were told that he would not wake up, and if he did he would be a near ‘vegetable’. But he did wake up and is far from being a vegetable. We were then told that very probably he would die in the next two to three years, yet here we are – 9 years on – and he is still very much alive.
Murray suffered a very serious brain injury and was in a natural coma for three months. After waking up, he went through extensive rehabilitation and made a recovery far better than both his family and his doctors could ever have hoped for. The consequences, however, are that he is extremely disabled and hardly able to do anything for himself, needing care 24/7.
Since his accident, Murray has lost contact with all of his old friends, meaning his only visitors are now myself, his mother and his sister, Jazzily. Birthdays have become quite a damp squib, with just his immediate family attending.
June 13th this year will be Murray’s 30th Birthday and his sister wants to make this milestone something to celebrate, and to show Murray that there are people in this world who think about him and care about him. That’s how the ‘Murray’s Birthday Card Wish’ campaign was born. Jazzily thought that if she got 100 people to send him a card, she could fill his room with messages of love.
She contacted our local newspaper, The Evening Echo, and they printed a feature, as they have been following Murray’s story from day one (just Google ‘Murray Bass Car Accident’). We also started sharing the story online through a Facebook group and page. The response has been fantastic and, at the time of writing, we have received over 320 cards, which is truly amazing! Murray has received cards from DJ Jazzy Jeff, his local MP and Soccer AM to name a few.
Some people also wanted to send Murray a gift, so we set up a GoFundMe page. To create this we had to put in a ‘target’, so decided to aim for £500. We are now at over £1,000! Jazzily and I are truly overwhelmed with all the love and support from everyone.
What does the future hold for Murray? Well, most of the time he is positive about life, and he still has a wicked sense of humour. He now has his own space in a supported living house in Shoeburyness, which is just outside Southend in Essex. We try to fill his life with as many fun things as we can but, if we don’t take him out, the rest of his time is spent watching TV or listening to music. We have a season ticket for Southend United and, if you are Facebook friends with me, you will have seen our football selfies! He has a niece, Monroe, who he adores and spoils rotten. Health wise, we simply don’t know, as he is weak and prone to illness. Something simple can quickly turn into something very serious and he has had two very severe attacks of pneumonia. So we all see every day as a positive.
Having lived through every parent’s worst nightmare, the two things I want to say are:
1. Be careful on the road. It simply isn’t worth driving fast to get to your destination a few minutes earlier, or using your mobile phone, or driving while tired.
2. Live every day to the full, spend it being happy, with people you love.
You never know what’s around the corner!
If you would like to send Murray a card, the address is
129 Bronte Paths
If you would like to make a donation to help us treat Murray on his birthday, the GoFundMe page is here:www.gofundme.com/murraybass
To follow the campaign’s progress, take a look at:www.facebook.com/murraysbirthdaycardwish
Thanks to you all