Anne determined to attend wedding day

By Erika Venter

Inglewood Primary teacher aide Anne Bracey's drive to see each student over her threshold blossom, is the same determination that would see her at her granddaughter's wedding in February despite her still being in hospital with a long road of recovery ahead following a car crash on New Year's eve.

"She turns 78 in July, and says 'to be old is all in your mind.' She is determined to be at the wedding even if it is in wheelchair," says daughter Lynne.

Lynne was pleased to say that last week Anne took her first steps, albeit with a physiotherapist and a handsome young orderly with an oxygen bottle in tow and that she is slowly making progress.

The school's Facebook page has been inundated with messages of goodwill for Anne and her family, something which Lynne says they treasure close to heart.

"There are hundreds of entries. We thank everyone. She has received huge community support, which is marvellous as we live in the far north."

Anne is currently still in Whangarei Hospital, where after 14 days she was moved from intensive care to the general ward.

Inglewood Primary principal Karen Houghton, who faithfully updated the website with Anne's progress, says Anne doesn't remember much of the crash and when she came around after surgery, thought she was in New World when asked if she knew where she was.

"She apparently took a look at the nurse in the uniform and said, maybe I am in New World. Her logic was OK as the uniforms are very similar in colour and netball is one of Anne's passions."

Anne suffered a broken femur, rib and shoulder fractures, severe gashes to her head and neck, bruising all over her body and a brain bleed.

The courtesy van, owned by a local restaurant, that Anne and her family were travelling home in was t-boned by another vehicle as they drove out of a driveway. Karen says Anne was thrown out of her seat belt and out of the van. They were only five minutes from the family home in Kerikeri.

Lynne's husband Tim was also seriously injured, but was home last week after a second round of facial reconstruction in Middlemore hospital.

"Anne is a much loved member of our school community. She enjoyed reading your messages of support and kind wishes.

"She has a long road ahead of her, however she is a tough cookie and will take each day as it comes," says Karen.

Anne has more than 50 years experience in education having worked in almost every teaching position, including teacher, principal and resource teacher: learning and behaviour. She currently heads the Bannatyne Reading Programme at Inglewood.

Karen says the board will this week decide on how to carry on the programme in Anne's absence.

"Anne contribution is invaluable - it is a specialist role. It is a very important programme and we would like to see it continue."

On asking whether Anne will now consider retiring, Lynne answers that Anne won't ever stop - "she loves working with the children and sharing her passion for reading and writing."

- Stratford Press

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