Back to school for Leeds boy who was ‘dead’

Callum Wingate, front, with his parents Lorraine Siddle and Robert Wingate and brothers Robert Jnr, left, and James.
Callum Wingate, front, with his parents Lorraine Siddle and Robert Wingate and brothers Robert Jnr, left, and James.
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A BOY who was given no chance of surviving after nearly drowning on holiday exactly a year ago has capped his remarkable recovery by being told he can return to school.

Eight-year-old Callum Wingate, from Belle Isle in Leeds, lay “dead” for several minutes after sinking to the bottom of a swimming pool in Majorca a year ago today.

After he was dragged from the water it took nearly half an hour for medics to revive him, but Callum’s family was then told his chances of survival were virtually nonexistent.

But after returning to the UK, and following several weeks in a coma, the youngster began to defy the predictions by slowly regaining movement and speech.

Now his family are celebrating after being told he can return to Windmill Primary School.

Mum Lorraine Siddle, 36, said: “It’s just amazing.

“It’s impossible to put into words what the last year has been like.

“Callum is so determined. He’s so excited about going back to school and we keep having to tell him it won’t be for a few weeks.

“He doesn’t understand why he has to wait when he hasn’t been to school for a year.”

The family were staying at the Playa Blanca hotel, in the resort of S’illot, when the accident happened on July 29 last year.

After slipping into the pool unnoticed, Callum was underwater for several minutes before his brother James, who was 12 at the time, spotted his lifeless body.

While in hospital in Spain, doctors advised Lorraine and Callum’s father, Robert Wingate, to turn off his life support machine and said he would die if he was flown home.

Lorraine said: “I never even considered letting him go. He survived for a reason. He’s such a strong little boy.”

Having survived the journey home, Callum’s parents were warned he faced severe long-term brain damage and it may be years before he would recognise them.

But he made remarkably rapid progress and can now run, talk, read and write and, according to his mum, “eats like a pig”.

He has even returned to Spain with his family, where he went for a swim for the first time since the accident.

Lorraine, of Winrose Hill, said he was back to about 90 per cent fitness and added: “I’m so proud of him.”

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