Historic accident led to death of former Waingels teacher

A FORMER Waingels College teacher died from complications arising from a life-changing accident which happened nearly 30 years ago.

Nicholas Drawater, 54, died on July 7 after being discovered unresponsive at his home in Arundel Court, Woodley, by his parents 12 days earlier.

Mr Drawater suffered life-changing injuries in August 1988 when he was hit on the head by a falling rock while climbing in the French Alps.

The inquest into his death, held at Reading Town Hall on Tuesday, November 28, heard how Mr Drawater suffered significant brain injuries during the accident, and had spent years recuperating in hospitals across the south east.

He eventually moved into sheltered accommodation in Arundel Court in 1995 where he was able to get about with the use of an electric wheelchair.

But in 2016, Mr Drawater had an operation to remove an internal abscess, which led to him becoming bed-bound for several weeks which his mother, Yvonne Drawater, said caused his muscles to waste away.

She told the coroner, Emma Jones: “He was always so fit and strong. He was able to do a standing transition, but his muscles wasted away and he needed carers to do everything for him.

“He lost his dignity, but he always kept a great sense of humour, and would always joke.”

On June 26 this year, a driver from the brain injury charity Headway had arrived at Mr Drawater’s address to take him to a clinic, but were unable to get a response.

His parents attended the property to find their son in his chair, ‘as if asleep’ with his half-eaten breakfast by his side.

They called paramedics who transferred him to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, but due to the nature of his disabilities and a restrictive lung disease, they were unable to save him and he passed away 12 days later.

Mrs Drawater said: “The staff at the hospital were brilliant, they tried everything they could. We couldn’t fault them at all.”

The coroner concluded that Mr Drawater suffered an accidental death. She said: “Had he not suffered such life-changing injuries in 1988, he would not have died at the very young age of 54.”

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Drawater’s father Terence said: “He was very well-known around Woodley, he was always zipping around in his wheelchair and kissing the ladies’ hands.

“He was 25 when the accident happened, and he had just been offered a scholarship to the Royal College of Art. He was a very clever man.”

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