Eighteen months after a near-fatal accident Whanganui potter Ross Mitchell-Anyon is back in his studio but missing his wife.

In April 2015, while working in his Taupo Quay building, Mr Mitchell-Anyon fell 12m. He suffered multiple skull fractures, 10 broken ribs and a broken pelvis, and spent time in a coma in intensive care at Wellington Hospital.

After that he had six months' rehabilitation at an acquired brain injury unit in Porirua. He was able to return to his Whanganui house in November last year.

Shortly afterward his wife Bobbi, who had looked after him devotedly, had a major stroke herself. She is now in Auckland, where she has a daughter and sister, being cared for in an institution.


She can't walk, but her mind is unaffected. She's determined to recover, Mr Mitchell-Anyon said, but may never be able to return to Whanganui.

He flies to Auckland once a month to visit her, and would love her to be back home.

"It was bad enough me having an accident without her having an accident as well. It made it doubly bad," he said.

For several years the two were a kind of "Arts Central" for Whanganui. Those parties are all over, Mr Mitchell-Anyon said.

He and his dog Meg are now alone in his riverside house. He works in his garden and takes the occasional walk into town, and he's started making pots again.

"I'm making plates right now. They're easier than some things."

He can't drive, and has some vision and hearing loss.

After the accident he didn't realise he had come so close to dying.

"I just thought I was normal, with a slight sight and hearing problem, but that was all. I didn't realise that my brain was affected."

He's made a remarkable recovery, and can now do most things for himself. He likes to have visitors - but not too often. He gets help from his son Jack, especially with transport.

Asked his priorities, he said they were "just to carry on surviving" and to be with Bobbi again.