A CARE worker is fighting for his life after trying to stop thugs aged 14 and 15 bullying his 11-year-old son.
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 gang turned on him — battering him unconscious before smashing an object onto his head as his son watched on in horror.
Alan, who has worked tirelessly through the pandemic, was last night in a coma in hospital. Sources close to his family fear that if he survives he may be brain damaged.
Sharing online a harrowing picture, too graphic for a family newspaper, devastated wife Annie, 49, wrote: “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.”
Click here to donate to Alan & his devastated family
She added: “The ventilator won’t work properly. He has facial fractures. I hope you are proud of yourself.
“We have been told now to just live life day by day.”
In an emotional tribute Alan’s 25-year-old daughter Becky urged him to “fight for your life” and “don’t let those boys win”.
She added: “You have so much life left to give and a granddaughter who needs to grow up with her ‘nan-dad’.
“I wish I could just hold your hand, but Covid has decided that for us.”
And in a furious blast at the attackers, Becky fumed: “You nasty bastards.”
Alan 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.
But locals told of their anger after all five were bailed despite “strict conditions” including curfews and not meeting each other.
One neighbour said: “It’s not right that these boys bring a man to death’s door and are released on bail just hours later. What kind of message does that send out?”
Local MP Sir Peter Bottomley said: “Everyone in the community sends their heartfelt sympathies and best wishes to both victims — the son who faced danger and the father who bravely intervened.”
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. You are all truly amazing
By this morning, more than £14,000 had been donated to a JustGiving page set up by family pal Cheryl Edwards.
She wrote: “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. You are all truly amazing.”
Police, who scrambled a helicopter in Sunday’s hunt for the attackers, confirmed: “Officers were called to Whitebeam Road after a man was found injured in nearby Longcroft Park.
“He was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, where he remains in a serious condition.
“Four boys were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and grievous bodily harm with intent.
“They were released on bail with conditions while police inquiries continue. These conditions include strict curfews, staying at a given address away from the local area and not associating with each other.
“Police also arrested a fifth boy on suspicion of attempted murder on Monday. He has also been released on bail with strict conditions.
“Police are treating this as an isolated incident. Officers will be conducting increased regular high-visibility patrols in the area to provide reassurance to the community, and to identify and deter any further criminal behaviour.
“The investigation is ongoing and police are urging anyone who saw what happened, or who was in the park around that time and may have any relevant information, to get in touch.”
Det Insp Simon Dunn, who is leading the investigation, said: “The assault and the build up to it occurred in a public park in daylight, so it was likely that other people would have witnessed the assault or the suspects running from the scene.
“I am keen to hear from anyone who has information but is yet to come forward.”
The attack came just a fortnight after thugs torched the home of a former Royal Marine after he took them on.
Sean Ivey, 38, urged local residents to stand together against anti-social behaviour in Wingate, Co Durham. But hours later he woke to find his caravan, car and home ablaze.
Shocked Sean escaped with wife, Kate, 35, their two young kids before firefighters put out the flames.
In a message to locals he said: “We’re good upstanding members of the community and now, because I spoke out against anti social behaviour my five-year-old boy, seven-year-old girl, wife and myself were almost murdered whilst asleep.
“I want people to know that not enough is being done to curb anti-social behaviour.
“People are not being held accountable.
“Help me to help you and everyone else who are becoming victims of the poison that lives in our local communities.”
How you can help
GENEROUS locals yesterday donated thousands of pounds to Alan and his devastated family.
A JustGiving page has already passed £14,000 as stunned well-wishers learned of the attack.
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.”
Click here to donate