Family 'broken in pieces' as care worker fights for his life after he stepped in to protect his son, 11, from bulliesApril 8, 2021
THE family of a man fighting for his life after he was battered by teen bullies while defending his son, 11, say they're devastated by the attack.
Care worker Alan Willson, 46, had run from his house to a packed park nearby after hearing the yobs were throwing his son to the ground.
But the youths – aged 13 and 14 – turned on him, beating him unconscious before smashing his head with an object as his terrified son watched on.
Now Alan's brother, electrician Barrie Willson, has spoken of the family's horror and distress.
Choking back tears, Barrie, 52, told The Sun: "We've been told not to say anything because of the ongoing investigation, but what happened to Alan is shocking.
"It's absolutely terrible, he was just protecting his son.
"It's awful, it has left our whole family devastated.
"We are broken and in pieces.
"He's such a kind, lovely chap and he did absolutely nothing wrong.
"He's my younger brother and it's just devastating.
"We are just waiting and hoping he comes through this."
Alan, who has worked tirelessly through the pandemic, is in a coma in hospital.
Sources close to his family fear that if he survives he may be brain damaged.
He was pounced upon at 7.30pm on Easter Sunday at Longcroft Park in Worthing, West Sussex.
He has had brain surgery at Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital and also suffered spinal fractures, lung trauma and broken bones.
Four youths were arrested later that evening on suspicion of attempted murder and grievous bodily harm with intent. A fifth boy was arrested on Monday accused of the same offences.
All have now been bailed with strict orders to comply with curfew and not see each other.
Barrie, who lives in Epping, Essex, said: "There is so much more we would like to say but we can't because we don't want to risk any future trial.
"We want to make sure that the investigation is carried out properly."
He spoke after Alan's wife Annie, 49, shared a harrowing photo of her husband's horror injuries online.
Click here to donate to Alan & his devastated family
The photo is too graphic for a family newspaper to print.
Annie said: “So this is what you have done to my husband — hitting him and keep hitting him until he was down and unconscious.
“He is fighting for his life after brain surgery for multiple bleeds on the brain.
“He is the most kind and gentle man in the world. My 11-year-old son you have also given mental trauma.
“A father coming to rescue his son because you started physically hurting him and throwing him on the ground.”
Police, who scrambled a helicopter to the scene to hunt for the attackers, said they are treating the horror "as an isolated incident".
Family friend Cheryl Edwards set up a JustGiving page in a bid to raise £500 to support Alan's family.
But tens of thousands of pounds has already been raised, with generous Brits donating almost 3,000 per cent more than the target just days after the attack.
How you can help
GENEROUS locals yesterday donated thousands of pounds to Alan and his devastated family.
Family pal Cheryl Edwards, who set up the page, said: “It’s amazing how this fundraiser has snowballed so fast.
"With an initial £500 goal smashed in less than a day, the initial idea was to help with travel costs.
"It has now become a means to ensure the family has financial support and don’t have to worry about huge bills. You are all truly amazing.”
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