Alton Towers victim Leah Washington has given a candid insight into the aftermath of her accident, which left her losing her leg when a ride crashed in 2015. In a lengthy post with Cosmopolitan, the 20-year-old from Barnsley revealed that she feared her boyfriend Joe Pugh would leave her following the horrific tragedy. At the time, the couple were on their first proper date after six weeks of getting to know one another. Leah was sure that her then 18-year-old boyfriend, who suffered serious injuries including two shattered kneecaps, would want to end their romance.
Alton Towers victim Leah Washington with boyfriend Joe Pugh
"I knew I wanted things to continue, I just wasn't sure he felt the same," she explained. "But he turned to me and said there was no way he was going to let this get between us." Despite his reassurance, Leah thought that after some time he would just "let her down gently". She added: "He would give it a few months and then realise he didn't want to be with an amputee, because, at that moment in time, that was how I was beginning to see myself - as an amputee. Someone not worthy of a relationship. It is astonishing how quickly your identity can be smashed and reconfigured."
Even after Leah's brother approached Joe warning him he didn't have to stay with Leah if he couldn't cope, he insisted that he wanted to be in the relationship – no matter what. "Before, we’d been in the honeymoon phase, just showing each other our best sides," continued Leah. "But after the accident, there was no pretence. We had no choice but to be completely honest and share everything. Looking back, I think the crash brought us much closer. We are part of something that will forever knit us together." Leah, who now has a £60,000 prosthetic leg which allows her to walk unaided, is now working as a teaching assistant, while Joe graduated from university this year.