THE PARENTS of young Callum Massey described the day their son was left at death’s door as “the blackest of our lives”.
On the morning of Thursday September 22 last year, Lynne and Andrew Massey were shopping in Hucknall town centre when they received an emergency call from the National Church of England Academy.
Their 13-year-old son had been injured in a clash with another pupil. But they didn’t know the full extent of the drama.
The couple, of Brookfield Avenue, Hucknall, were advised to stay by the phone but rushed to the school on Annesley Road where they found Callum unconscious and laid in the back of an ambulance.
He was ferried to hospital in a fight against time to save his life.
Now, speaking publicly for the first time and exclusively to the Dispatch, the couple have described the moment their lives were turned upside down.
It was every parent’s “worst nightmare”, they said. “I remember when he was in intensive care,” said Lynne (35). “I would have given anything to swap places with him.”.
Investigations have since revealed that the assault on Callum by an unnamed fellow pupil caused an undiagnosed heart problem to flare.
He was taken to King’s Mill Hospital, Sutton-in-Ashfield for initial treatment but was later hurried to the heart-specialist unit at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, under police escort.
He wasn’t fully revived for more than two days and was fitted with a pacemaker-style device to regulate his heart rate.
Callum was at Glenfield for three weeks before being sent home to be reunited with his parents, brother Harry (five) and sister Katie-May (ten).
He is now on medication and undergoes regular tests, although his heart problem has not been fully identified. It is a lifelong condition that will affect his future, including the job he can do.
Lynne said: “They call him ‘the mystery man’ at Glenfield. You obviously cannot prepare for something like this happening. It affected the whole family.”
Andrew (35) said: “He went straight into accident and emergency at King’s Mill where there must have been 20 doctors around him. It was just so horrific and out of the blue.”
The couple have paid tribute to those who saved Callum at the school (SEE FRONT PAGE) and to the dedicated staff at both King’s Mill and Glenfield.
“He must now try and live life as normally as possible,” said Lynne. “But we cannot thank everyone enough.”
A full investigation was launched by the police into the assault.
It has been revealed that it centred on a single punch. The boy who hit Callum will not face criminal charges and is now at a different school.
Because of the age of both boys, it was decided to tackle the ‘crime’ by adopting a new approach known as restorative justice, which involves the parties coming together to build bridges.
In this case, the boy who threw the punch has been to mediation meetings, attended by his parents and also by Callum and the Masseys.
He has been made aware of the consequences of his actions and shown remorse. He has also written a letter of apology and outlined the lessons he has learned.
Sgt Deb Barton, who is the Nottinghamshire police lead in restorative justice, said: “I am working closely with all to establish a conclusion that works for everyone.
“The incident shouldn’t have happened. However it led to the victim receiving medical treatment that saved his life and has since identified a condition which could have caused him to collapse at another time.
“Instead of progressing down the criminal justice route, the victim’s family simply wanted to ensure the other boy was aware of what his actions led to, and the possible consequences that any sort of violence can have.
“Restorative justice is also an important tool for us to quickly reintegrate the victim back into school.
“We don’t want to see young people criminalised for acting rashly or making a bad decision in the heat of the moment.”.
She added: “It also ensures that both boys can now move on from what happened and put it behind them.”