"Fun-loving" dad in coma after breaking his neck diving into pool in Tenerife

A granddad is in a coma after breaking his neck in a freak accident while holidaying with pals in Tenerife.

Christopher Watkins, 43, was pulled out of the water by lifeguards after he dived into the hotel pool and struck his head.

The father-of-two was staying at the Aparthotel Columbus in Playa de las Americas when he was left with "life-changing" injuries.

Chris had been away friends who thought he was "joking" when he didn't initially come up for air.

But he was rushed to hospital and has been placed in an induced coma.

His best friend Christian Preece, 43, said: "He didn't come up straight away, and the lifeguards jumped straight in to rescue him. I thought he was taking the p*ss, but then he had a huge cut on his head.

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"He was on his side crying 'I've broken my neck, I can't feel anything, help me' and I told him to stop being silly.

"I told him he'd only jarred it but he replied 'no, I'm serious' and my heart sank. He's a bit of a joker but I knew from his voice that he was telling the truth.

"He's been my best mate since we were four years old. To see him like this is like living a nightmare."

Chris' mother Gail, father, Allen and daughters Kayleigh and Carly have since flown to the sunshine island to be at his bedside.

Kayleigh, 23, said Chris was a perfect father and doting grandfather to her three-year-old daughter Gracie-Mae.

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She said: "I'm in total shock. I can't believe what's happened. When I saw him in his hospital bed I just started shaking and crying. I felt sick. To see him like that was awful.

"He was an absolutely brilliant dad who would do anything for us when we were growing up, and he's exactly the same with Gracie-Mae.

“He loves playing with her and not being able to do that will be so hard on him.

"My dad is in an induced coma so his body can rest.

"The operation went well with no complications.

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His devastated family is trying to raise £40,000 to bring Christopher – known as Wocky – home to Pontypool, South Wales.

Kayleigh added: "We as a family are very very grateful for everyone's support through this difficult time.

"We cant thank everyone enough for what they are doing and how everyone is coming together to bring my dad home where he belongs."

Mum Gail, 61, said: "He might be 43 but he's still my son.

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"I'm not leaving the island until I take him home. Whatever we have to do to bring him back, we'll do – it's our duty.

"He only had an E11 card so we're going to be left with a huge medical bill on top of everything else.

"That's not even taking into account the air ambulance we need to bring him home. That could be £40,000 alone. It's unthinkable."

Christopher's sister Nadia Hopkins – who launched a GoFundMe page – said: "Christopher has had a life changing accident during a holiday in Tenerife.

"As a family we are all in a state of shock and disbelief and we are all completely devastated.

"Being in a foreign country means that family members and friends cannot see him or support his mother, father and two daughters who are in Tenerife at the moment.

"Christopher is a fun loving vibrant person who everyone loves, he is full of energy and he is everyone's friend."

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