The utter kindness of people, their donations and advice has overwhelmed supporters of former groom and rider Gemma Potts, who suffered catastrophic spinal injuries.

A website, the Gemma Potts Community, has now been set up to channel support for an auction to be held next week at Richmond Equestrian Centre, as well as a Go Fund Me page to try and raise the money, which is desperately needed to help get Gemma home.

Now tetraplegic, she is unable to move her arms or legs and needs round the clock care.

Gemma, from Crook, County Durham, who is now 29, suffered a life changing spinal injury at an equestrian event in June 2021. After surgery at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough she spent months in intensive care.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Gemma Potts was badly injured

Friends and family set up the website to coordinate help. They say: "The news that Gemma was tetraplegic as a result of her injury was utterly devastating. Despite this Gemma has continued her fight. The first was learning to breathe and swallow again. All while dealing with the mental turmoil and the dark days she was faced with.

"Gemma is currently in a residential home, her needs are extremely complex. She requires 24-hour round the clock care, therapy and specialised equipment. This is vital to enable Gemma to return home."

Gemma was formerly a groom for event riders, a brand ambassador and an experienced horse woman. Her supporters say she is now preparing to leave the care home, and her unwavering positivity and sheer determination has inspired everyone - but to do this she needs specialised equipment and continuing intensive therapy.

They add: "Any funds raised from the auction and raffle event at Richmond Equestrian Centre and the Go Fund Me Page will help to finance this. Which will in turn give Gemma every possible chance to regain any movement and improve her mental health.

"The ultimate goal would be to fund a 12-week physical therapy placement at a specialist residential rehab centre. This alone would cost in the region of £114,000 (Steps Rehabilitation in Sheffield). In the last two and a half years Gemma and her family have come to the sad and shocking realisation of how little is provided to help people with life changing injuries."

Darlington and Stockton Times: Gemma with Paul Frost, mum Linda, Abigail and Victoria

The auction, with former Tyne Tees presenter Paul Frost on February 29, has been organised by Abigail Turnbull of Richmond Equestrian Centre and BHS equine coach Victoria Baker. Abigail said the donations, support, advice and utter kindness people are showing has been overwhelming.

She added: "The goal is to get, and continue to get, Gemma and her mum Linda all the support, and help they need. Gemma is a remarkable, courageous and inspirational young lady and her mum is wonderful, they both deserve all the help we can give."

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