Bristol crash victim who has found new focus in life
A YOUNG woman has told how she battled back from a horrific car crash to forge a new career and has now set up her own business.
Nicki Priddy, who lives in Bristol, lost the sight in one eye and took years to recover from the trauma of the accident which almost took her life. But now the 27-year-old is determined to put the trauma behind her and has launched a photography business with the help and support of her husband John.
Nicki suffered terrible injuries in the car accident in her native Yorkshire when she was just 16-years-old. It was feared she would die from severe head injuries but she pulled through.
There were also concerns that she could suffer long term damage with the physical as well as mental scars which are only just starting to fully heal.
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Nicki was left with scars on her face but thankfully the treatment and help she received has meant that they have largely disappeared.
Although she spent weeks in hospital there were still long-term implications. Because of concentration problems she was unable to return to the A-level course she was on.
Nicki said: “Like most other teenagers I wanted to go to university but had to change my plans because of what happened. It was a very difficult time for me but I got a lot of support from home.
“It was also difficult because my friends were all at a different place to me. They were getting on with their lives and making plans to go to university, it just meant that we were at different stages in our lives.”
Rather than carrying on with her studies she decided to go straight into work and took a variety of jobs including working at a cafe and an ice cream parlour.
Work eventually led her to Bristol, where she became an events administrator for the NHS.
She said: “The accident did hit my confidence and also had a major impact on my life in other ways. I would find it was the main thing I talked about when I first met people and in a way it took over a little bit.
“I had to take a step back to realise that the time had come for me to get on with my life instead of just thinking about the accident all the time.
“Working with my mum in a cafe helped me get some of my confidence back but what really made a difference was moving away to Bristol.” She added: “I did enjoy work but I was starting to feel as though I wasn’t reaching my full potential. In the end it was my boss who encouraged me to go back to college.
“I was studying business at school when the accident happened and it has always been something I have been interested in.
“I was nervous but the college was great and they were really supportive, it was everything I had hoped it would be.”
Her boss suggested she do a degree to further her career, and after applying through UCAS Nicki started a foundation degree in business with management at Weston College.
She graduated last year, and has now set up a photography and events business, “nickiBreeze”, which specialises in weddings, family and pet portraits.
She said: “My life took a very different turn after the car accident and I embarked on all sorts of jobs. When I decided to do a degree I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to concentrate, but the support and confidence I was given at Weston College was fantastic. I couldn’t have found a better route into education.”
She added: “The current climate is challenging for a new business, as it quite often feels like you’re pushing a double-decker bus up a hill single handed.
“However, when I get to be involved in a couple’s wedding day, either as a photographer or a event planner, or even capturing a baby’s first year in photographs, it makes all the hard work more than worthwhile.
“I have always been interested in photography and I love catching that special moment of closeness between two people”
She added: “I set up the business just before Christmas and at first it was very slow but since the start of the year things have really started to pick up. It has been really encouraging and the response from customers has been great as well.”
Nikki said: “I have to say that I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the support of my husband, he has been fantastic in every way. The eventual aim is to build up a business that we could both get involved in it.
“Without his financial and emotional support I would have never have go to the stage where I am at today.”