A former soldier from Derbyshire has been left paralysed from the waist down after falling 30ft from a tree.

Ex-Sergeant Major Dave Coupe plummeted to the ground while he was cutting down the tree near Long Eaton.

The 50-year-old father-of-two was rushed to hospital where it was confirmed he had broken his spine, six ribs, severed his spinal cord, suffered a bleed to the brain and had a collapsed lung.

He has been operated on and will have to spend the new two weeks lying flat as part of his recuperation.

But medics have told his family that the do not know if he will ever be able to walk again so they have started to raise funds to have their Breaston home adapted for when he is eventually released.

His wife Katherine, 49, said: “The surgeon has told us that it is in the lap of the Gods so that is all we have to go on at the moment.

“It’s just horrible, I cried for two days solid when I heard.”

Mrs Coupe said her husband, who runs his own tree surgeon business, spent 27 years serving in the Royal Anglian Regiment with the British Army and carried out tours including Afghanistan and Northern Ireland during his distinguished military career.

She said two days before the fall, which happened in Toton on November 12, her husband was on the Pride Park pitch as veterans were paraded in front of Derby County fans as part of the Remembrance Day commemorations.

Mrs Coupe, who runs Embrace Beauty Therapy, in Bramcote Lane, Wollaton, said: “I had been out horse riding and normally I would take my mobile but this time I hadn’t.

“When I got home I had 13 missed calls so I knew something was wrong.

“When I got to the site (of the fall) it was just horrible.

“Dave was saying to me ‘Kath, I can’t feel my legs’.

“It was just awful.”

Mrs Coupe said her husband was raced to the Queen’s Medical Centre where x-rays confirmed the extent of the injures.

She said he was operated on and now has rods either side of his spine.

Mrs Coupe said: “We just face a waiting game now and for the next two weeks Dave has got to lie down flat as part of the healing process.

“He is going to go stir crazy.

“He has no feeling in his legs and the surgeon simply does not know if he will walk again.

“After these next two weeks the hope is to transfer him to a hospital in Sheffield which specialises in this type of injury.

She said they have a daughter Chantelle, 30 and their son Kurt, 26, has returned home from travelling overseas and is carrying out his father’s work as he too is a trained tree surgeon.

But the family need money to pay for adaptations to their home for when Mr Coupe comes out of hospital.

Mrs Coupe said: “Everyone has been brilliant in terms of their offers of help.

“We have plumber, builders, plasterers and electricians in Breaston who have all offered to help and give their time for free.

“People have left such kind messages of support on our fundraising page, it really is so moving.”

To support Mr and Mrs Coupe and their family visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/helping-dave-again