Nikki Thornley, who was paralysed in a motorbike accident to benefit from Seven Families initiative
Seven Families is an industry wide initiative to help promote the benefits of income protection (IP) insurance by following seven families who could have bought IP, but didn’t. For the seven families to qualify the main breadwinner would have had an income of between £30-35,000 before they were unable to work and not already have IP to qualify up to a maximum of £20,000 over twelve months.
The latest family to be announced as beneficiaries of the Seven Families initiative suffered a tragic accident at the start of a holiday of a lifetime. Nikki Thornley, a police officer and from Aberdeenshire, had set off with her husband for a trip around Europe on two motorbikes to mark his 40th birthday.
Even before Mr and Mrs Thornley had left Scotland they were involved in a horrific road traffic accident. Nikki spent 11 months and one week in hospital and will never be able to return to her former job because the accident left her paralysed.
Nikki said: “I’m still not exactly sure what happened. I lost control of my bike and hit a car. After a couple of days in a Borders hospital, I was transferred to the National Spinal Unit in Glasgow.
“I spent the next 11 months and 1 week (yes, I was counting!!) there away from my husband and two small boys. I don’t remember anyone actually telling me I would never walk again, I think it just became apparent over time”
Nikki continued: “The biggest change to my life has been the transition from being someone who is so fiercely independent to having to ask for help, and I’m still trying to get my head around that now.
“It has been really difficult, especially when I see our cars flying around with their blues and twos on. However, I’m looking forward to going back work part-time, whatever it is I can do. As long as I’m able to add something I just want to get back to work.”
Nikki is remaining positive about returning to work part-time in the near future. She is hoping to return as an office worker for the police, and has already visited her future office to see what adaptations would be needed.
Thanks to Seven Families Nikki and her family will receive £1,000 per month along with access to volunteer IFAs, independent living, rehabilitation and counselling services.
Nikki said: “After talking it through with the charity and my employer I’m hoping the Seven Families campaign will help me face up to many of my fears and concerns, particularly seeing myself as a chair user now.
“Any monies will help give me the time and space to be as best as I can before I return to work, and will also benefit my home life as well.”
Jason Jaspal, a spokesperson from Disability Rights UK said: “We hear from people daily who have to wait months for assessments (for Personal Independence Payment), while receiving ineffective or no support to resume work.
“This project will help us learn how different it can be when people do have resources, information and access to support on their own terms.”