‘Miracle’ survivor achieves a top award

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A Leighton boy who narrowly avoided death after falling 16ft from a balcony onto his head has defied the odds to earn a top award.

Daniel Betley was a month from his second birthday when the horrific incident occurred on a holiday in Spain with his mother and grandparents in July 2008.

After being airlifted to a hospital in Barcelona Daniel underwent emergency surgery and was put into a medical coma, after which he remained in intensive care for a week.

Despite initially being left totally paralysed by the fall, the infant made a heroic recovery and was able to celebrate his brother’s birthday at home four weeks later.

Six-and-a-half years later Daniel continues to beat the odds and has been honoured with the highest award a Beaver Scout can receive, for his efforts with the 1st Linslade group.

Daniel’s mother Louise told the LBO that she is proud of her eight-year-old’s achievement, after an incident which “should have killed him”.

She said: “When he was being airlifted I still didn’t know whether he was alive or not but he fought so strongly that when they put him into a medical coma they had to give him four times the dosage to keep him under.

“On the way to the hospital all I could think was ‘how am I going to tell his brothers?’

“After he came out of the coma I knew he had survived the worst of it but then I began to fear that he may not recover from his injuries.

“He fell directly onto his head, so much so that there was not a scratch on the rest of his body.”

After coming through head to toe paralysis Daniel was left with mobility problems, learning difficulties and Bell’s palsy- a condition which causes weakness or paralysis in one side of the face.

The eight-year-old still has physiotherapy and is due to undergo speech therapy but has not let his conditions hold him back, as he regularly attends drama and football clubs.

After earning all 27 badges Daniel has been awarded the Chief Scout Bronze Award.

For his last badge, which he achieved at group camp, Daniel had to cook over a fire, prepare camp donuts using space dust, develop his archery skills and learn to drive a go kart.

He has now joined the Cub Scouts.

Louise said: “Daniel pushes on so hard with everything he does.

“He’s behind at school academically but he is such a trier, his school has said that he is doing so much extra work.

“I’m so pleased for him, most of the badges required him to do some homework which he did.”