Why I started The Priest Foundation

In 2014 I entered a cycling event called the Tour of Dengie with five friends. We trained hard throughout the winter months in preparation for this spring event. Unfortunately, for us on the day of the event there was 35 mph winds and it was pouring rain. It was not great conditions for cycling, but as we had trained so hard it wasn’t going to put us off.

The event got underway and as a group we were off to a strong start. We all ensured we stayed close to eachother as the wind and visibility was extremely poor. This was easily the worst conditions we have ever ridden in.

As we reached the top of a hill we turned at a junction, we started to accelerate on to the other side of the road. My friend in front of me looked over his shoulder to make sure we were all together and in that split second our wheels touched. For a road cyclist this usually only ends up one way. My front wheel shifted violently to the left sending me somersaulting high over the handlebars and slamming into the tarmac with a sickening thud, my head and shoulder taking the impact. 

I was in a bad way, sitting on the roadside in the rain with my friends trying to keep me warm. The paramedics arrived and put me on gas and air whilst I was waiting for the ambulance to arrive. When the ambulance finally arrived they attempted to give me morphine but they couldn’t get the needle into me as I was so cold.

Therefore, they had to get me straight to hospital as quickly as they could, some sections of the journey even had to be made on unmade roads. The pain at this point was excruciating, the paramedic made it clear to me at this point that I had broken my collarbone and six ribs.

Broomfield Hospital

The hospital staff were amazing. They confirmed the paramedic was right and I had in fact broken my collarbone and six ribs down the right side of my body. More problems than occurred as I left the hospital and had to get on with the day to day things like going to work. I had owned my own company since the year 2000 employing over 200 staff, I had never missed a day off work. I started to struggle being around lots of people and felt very depressed, something I had never believed was a real condition. I look back now and feel bad for some of things I’ve said to my friends, family and co-workers in the past. Being very dismissive and telling them they just needed a positive outlook when they said they were stressed or depressed. I then decided to make a change I went to see a therapist in Danbury, called Susan. I was very fortunate that my company had supplied private health insurance to get me the support I needed.

Diagnosis

She diagnosed me with PTSD, a condition I had never heard of. Throughout my life I had always thought I was invincible, my PTSD made me feel extremely vulnerable and taught me that I was not in fact indestructible. This was the wake up call I needed. I was lucky enough to see my therapist for a year and with the support of my family, friends and exercise I got myself back on track. I will never forget my experience and how thankful I am for all the people who helped me. Therefore, in 2019 I wanted to give something back and this is when I decided to start The Priest Foundation. 

I researched and decided to join the Essex Community Foundation they do all the Administration for the charity, which allows me, my family and friends to concentrate on fundraising and helping our local area. All letters will come through the Essex Community foundation for our advisory board to look through and fund the people that need our help!

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