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From bald as a coot to hirsute... and back
A MOTORBIKE fanatic whose passion twice caused him to dice with death raised money to thank hospital staff by not cutting his hair for a whole year.
At the end of 2012, Matt Rostron, 30, was clean-shaven with a bald head. By New Year’s Eve, he resembled Bigfoot from Harry and the Hendersons.
But two days ago, he had the year’s growth shaved off once more to raise at least £650 for the NHS Foundation Trust Charitable Fund.
“I was bald as a baby’s bum before I did this!” said Matt, of Garraways, Royal Wootton Bassett, who has suffered two severe accidents, one of which left him paralysed.
Mr Rostron, a qualified bike mechanic who works as a tyre fitter at ATS in Chippenham, spent Christmas four years ago in Swindon’s Great Western Hospital after skidding on black ice at Lyneham Banks. It wasn’t until a week after the fall that he was admitted.
“At the time, I got up straight away to get out of the way of oncoming cars and rode home,” he said. “A week later I was getting tingly cold sensations in my legs.
“It was getting to the point where I was wearing two pairs of jogging bottoms. I got into a hot bath and I couldn’t feel the heat until my belly button.”
Luckily he had been going to the gym five days a week and had enough upper body strength to pull himself out of the bath, but it took 11 months of hard work before he was able to start walking again, and another two months before he could manage it unaided.
He said: “The doctors said it would take two or three years. It hit me and I thought ‘I ain’t letting that happen’.
“I pushed myself, I was determined. Even the doctors were quite surprised.”
Despite his ordeal he couldn’t stay off his motorbike and in 2011 he hit a deer and shattered his ankle, collar bone and thumb.
Mr Rostron has not ridden since, but said he would get back on his bike tomorrow if it hadn’t been written off.
“It’s in my blood. It hasn’t scared me, I don’t think. I raced bikes for about eight years. My old man got me into motorbike racing when I was 15,” he said. “I love bikes.”
After spending a total of three-and-a-half months in GWH, he said: “I’m doing this because the hospital staff and paramedics helped me out and kept me alive.
“I got to know all the nurses, and the night staff who made me tea and toast at 3 o’clock in the morning.”
Matt with his full head of hair and beard
Much to his and partner Talia’s relief, 12 months of growth fell to the floor of Chippenham’s Gary Hatto barbers on Tuesday.
“It’s been a challenge,” said Mr Rostron. “I’ve had things shouted at me in the street – ‘oh look, it’s Jesus’, or ‘Cast Away’. At work customers look at me a bit funny, but my bosses have been understanding.”
He said his friends’ disbelief that he could keep it going made him determined to prove them wrong.
His mum works for HSBC in Chippenham and they have offered to match pound for pound what he can raise – so far £650. Donations can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/Matt-Rostron
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