Stoke & Staffordshire

One Direction to meet Leah Washington after Alton Towers crash

Leah Washington Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Leah Washington is a huge One Direction fan, her friends say

The stars of One Direction have filmed a video message and offered to meet a teenage girl whose leg was amputated following a rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers.

Leah Washington, 17, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was one of five people who suffered severe injuries on the Smiler ride on 2 June.

A Twitter campaign - #Get1DToLeah - called for the pop band to contact her.

Friends said Ms Washington would be "elated" at the news.

Sara Stuart, who helped start the campaign, said she had been to the Royal Stoke Hospital to visit the teenager, whom she described as a huge fan of the band.

"She's seen them so many times," Ms Stuart said.

"It's really given Leah something to aim for and really look forward to once she's recovered."

The campaign has received thousands of retweets.

"The support has been overwhelming. It made me so happy that so many people were supporting one of my closest friends."

She said the message "would make Leah's day and aid her recovery".

Image copyright PA
Image caption Leah missed seeing One Direction play at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday

She added her friend had tickets to see the band in concert in Cardiff on Saturday but was unable to go because of her injuries.

The band are currently in Europe as part of a world tour.

"After visiting her yesterday and knowing how upset she was that she missed seeing them on Saturday, we decided we would try and get in touch with them to see if they were prepared to visit her or send her a video message," she said.

"She would love this."

The band's agents said the band's four members - Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson - had filmed a video message for Ms Washington.

"Unfortunately because of their schedule they can't visit her in hospital, but they have offered Leah tickets to a forthcoming concert of her choice when she has recovered, and will be delighted to meet her backstage then," they said.

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright WMAS
Image caption The crash left 16 people trapped 25ft (7.6m) above the ground for about four-and-a-half hours

Band member Louis Tomlinson has already sent her his best wishes.

He said he was thinking about her and hoping she was back home soon.

Ms Washington's boyfriend, 18-year-old Joe Pugh, from Barnsley, is being treated for two broken knees and "extensive" hand injuries at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.

The couple were in the front row of the Smiler ride, alongside Daniel Thorpe and Vicky Balch, when it hit an empty carriage last week.

Chanda Chauhan, 49, from Wednesbury, who was sitting in the second row of the ride, was taken to hospital with internal injuries.

The crash left 16 people trapped 25ft (7.6m) above the ground for about four-and-a-half hours.

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