'Hero' biker overwhelmed by donations after avoiding cyclists

Chris Toon in his wheelchair Image copyright Chris Toon
Image caption Chris Toon said he is grateful that he can move his arms

A man who crashed into a ditch after steering away from a group of cyclists, said he has been "overwhelmed" by funds for his rehabilitation.

Chris Toon, 32, from Derbyshire, broke his back and will never walk again after the crash on his motorbike near Melton Mowbray on 11 June.

Mr Toon said it had given him a "boost" after about £17,000 was raised to help pay for a special wheelchair.

A friend, Rachel Richardson, said he was a "hero" for avoiding the cyclists.

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The Nottingham Post reported on Sunday, that Mr Toon, a music teacher at Nottingham High School, was riding on the B5324, when his back wheel started to skid, throwing him to the other side of the road.

He then saw the group of about 12 cyclists coming the other way and in a split second made the decision to crash into the ditch to avoid a collision with them.

"I'd be in a different place if I had hit them," he told the BBC.

"I could have killed 2 or 3 of them, I could have ploughed through them all. I'm pleased no one did get hurt."

Image copyright Chris Toon
Image caption Chris Toon teaches music at Nottingham High School

Mr Toon said the cyclists all thanked him for what he did and even remembers making sure he could move his arms so he could play his saxophone again.

The 32-year-old, who does not have any immediate family, has been supported by his girlfriend Sarah Knight.

Rachel Richardson, who met Mr Toon through Derby Music Centre, started raising money to help him for when he eventually leaves hospital in Sheffield.

Image copyright Rachel Richardson
Image caption Chris Toon said he was pleased that he will still be able to play the flute

She said: "I never expected that we would raise that much, but we need to raise much more as he will need his house adapting.

"The donations have been overwhelming, one man has donated £255 out of his whisky jar."

Mr Toon said although he has a "long way to go" in terms of rehabilitation, he plans to return to teaching.