When Annie and Alan Willson got married, they promised each other one thing – that they would renew their vows in 10 years’ time.
Their 10-year anniversary was last month, shortly after the thugs were sentenced for the attack that changed everything.
“We’re unable to do it,” Annie said. “Because Alan can’t say ‘I do’.”
Alan nods, looks heartbreakingly at his wife and shrugs his shoulders.
Life is very different now for the couple.
Annie has painted skirting boards and doors darker colours to make it easier for Alan to cope – as bright colours are difficult for neuro injury victims to cope with.
She helps him bath and sometimes has to remind him that he might need the toilet, and she walks behind him as he makes his way slowly upstairs.
He has a cup of tea and mushed Weetabix for breakfast – they need to make sure he doesn’t choke – before having a cigarette and then usually making his way back to bed.
“He’s up and down to bed all day,” Annie said. “He gets very tired and he’s in bed by 9.30pm.”
Annie has accepted her life has changed drastically, is now very quiet and is centred around caring for her husband.
His condition will never improve, and Annie has vowed to stand by his side forever.
Alan, 47, is permanently brain damaged after the savage attack by brothers Archie, 16, and George Tilley, 14, along with Harry Furlong, 18, on Easter Sunday last year as he tried to defend a boy from being bullied.
Furlong was handed a 20-month sentence on June 30, of which he was due to serve half in custody, but instead could be released at the end of the month.
Annie Willson, 51, revealed to the Mirror how she is determined to sit face-to-face with Furlong.
Alan needs permanent care and is unable to speak, cannot sign his name and cannot play with his children.
He suffered catastrophic brain injuries during the attack over a frisbee row at a park in Worthing, West Sussex, after he rushed to defend an 11-year-old from being bullied by notorious local louts.
Furlong admitted in court he had punched Alan in the face before the brothers beat him unconscious with a 3ft log while he was on the ground.
The Tilleys were handed 12-year terms for inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, while Furlong was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Annie is also calling for a change in the law when it comes to such serious crimes committed by youths.