Chaplain credits prayer, support for recovery from broken back

Ben Winwood returns to Launceston after months in rehabilitation following a car crash.
Ben Winwood returns to Launceston after months in rehabilitation following a car crash.

WHEN Ben Winwood realised he had lost control of his car he closed his eyes, lifted his hands and started to pray.

April 1 was meant to be like any other day – he was on his way to work at Lilydale District School, where he had been employed as a chaplain for four years.

But after the crash the 29-year-old was hit with the realisation he could not feel his legs.

‘‘I remember as clear as day: the window was broken, the birds were chirping – I remember how still it was,’’ Mr Winwood said.

Mr Winwood spoke yesterday from his parents’ home in Launceston, to which he has finally returned following months of rehabilitation in Melbourne.

He remembered the journey to recovery from his diagnosis of a broken back and a compressed spine.

Prayer chains lit up internationally and not a day went by where he did not receive a card from a friend, family, fellow church-goer or student of Lilydale.

‘‘The support was amazing,’’ Mr Winwood said.

‘‘It blew me away – it was empowering but humbling.’’

Mr Winwood impressed his rehabilitation officers and doctors with a vow to leave the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre walking.

He stayed true to his word and walked 200 metres from the Melbourne centre’s exit this week.

He will continue to work on regaining mobility.

‘‘I put it down to the prayers,’’ Mr Winwood said.

‘‘I have faith and I’m not shy about that.

‘‘It was my faith combined with the faith of others and their prayers that helped me to recovery.’’

About 60 people greeted Mr Winwood on his return home to Launceston yesterday.

He said he would now begin work on regaining his licence, moving out of home and going back to work.