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Lightning boy 'lucky' to be alive

The family of a boy who was struck by lightning say he is lucky to be alive.

Joe Compton has now returned home having spent weeks in Bristol's Frenchay Hospital where he was treated for serious injuries.

The 11-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest, electric shock and severe burns when he was struck as he waited to be collected from near the school gates of Dorcan Academy in Swindon, at around 3pm on September 26.

The football fan's mother, Emma Dean, admits there were concerns her son would not pull through.

She told the Swindon Advertiser: "I thought he was going to die. When he was transferred to Frenchay (from Great Western Hospital where he was originally treated) the specialist burns surgeon said he had never dealt with a lightning strike in his 25 years in the job. Lots of people who get hit by lightning don't survive so Joe is very lucky and so are we."

Joe underwent a careful treatment programme at the hospital, which included surgery for skin grafts, and was released to return home last week.

He said: "I do feel kind of lucky and I feel all right now. I can't really remember anything that happened that day or even waking up in the hospital but I know I had detention after school so I was a little bit late coming out. I don't remember the pain at the time or afterwards because I blacked out."

Joe will be fitted with a special body suit next month to help with his recovery from the burns, and he cannot be exposed to direct sunlight for at least two years. His family have thanked medics who battled to save the Year 7 student's life, as well as members of the public who offered support following the incident.

Upon his release from hospital, Joe was also invited to Swindon Town FC's County Ground stadium to meet the players, where he was presented with a signed shirt bearing the name "Lucky" and the number one.

Ms Dean told the BBC: "When you hear stories of people getting hit by lightning, they don't survive, and every day I wished I could take the pain and everything away from him. But because of what happened and the state that he was in, I was told to think the worst, but he surprised the doctors."

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