Alton Towers crash victim tells of goal to walk for graduation

Alton Towers crash victim tells of goal to walk for graduation

A woman who lost her leg in the Alton Towers rollercoaster crash has spoken of her determination to walk again before she graduates.

University student Victoria Balch, 21, had her right leg amputated above the knee after the smash on the theme park’s Smiler ride in June. She told the Victoria Derbyshire programme on BBC2 that the amputation was “a relief” after six rounds of surgery in a bid to save her leg.

Miss Balch, from Leyland, Lancashire, was one of five people seriously injured.

She was sitting in the front of the ride alongside three others – Leah Washington, Joe Pugh and Daniel Thorpe – when it hit an empty carriage. She said: “I’m graduating in November, so I want to be able to walk with a crutch. I just want a leg so at graduation I can say ’look how far I’ve come’.”

The University of Derby student has been recovering at Specialist Mobility Rehabilitation Centre in Preston and learning to walk again.

She told the BBC programme that her leg had become a burden following an infection.

“After the third operation it was looking good – I thought I might be able to walk again. But the bad news came before my seventh operation, by which time I was exhausted. I had spent so much time asleep.” She added: “The leg was so painful that I couldn’t do anything with it.”

She has progressed from a wheelchair on to crutches and has recently been provided with her own prosthetic leg.

Speaking of learning to walk again, she said: “I didn’t think it would be that hard. I was shaking.” She added that she received weekly visits from Alton Towers staff after the crash and said they were “doing everything they can for the families”.

“It’s not their fault personally – they’re normal people that have families.”

Alton Towers parent group Merlin Entertainment said the injured parties will receive compensation.

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