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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 October, 2004, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
Tenth year of race attack marked
Marlon and Catherine Thomas
Marlon has needed round-the-clock care since the attack 10 years ago
The 10th anniversary of a racist attack which left a Bristol teenager in a "waking coma" has been marked.

Marlon Thomas was 18 when a gang of fairground workers beat him up on Durdham Downs.

Four of the youths, including the fair owner's son, were found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm.

Events were held at the Malcolm X Centre in St Pauls at the weekend to mark the 10th year of the attack and to raise awareness about racial issues.

I feel very upset because my Marlon was only 18 and suddenly he is like a baby, it's very difficult
Catherine Thomas, mother

Together with music, competitions and activities for children, discussions were held.

A documentary, made about Marlon in the aftermath of the assault, was screened.

Now 29, he is in what doctors describe as a "waking coma" and can only communicate by blinking his eye once for "yes" and twice for "no".

Round-the-clock care

He has recently been undergoing tests at the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit at Frenchay Hospital.

His brother, Leroy, said: "We know that he is aware of his whole surroundings.

"The reason we wanted to get him back in here was that this could be assessed and whatever therapy is necessary to advance any improvements they have found can be done."

Marlon's mother, Catherine, gives him round-the-clock care from a rented home in the city.

She is hoping to buy a bungalow which can be adapted to suit his needs.

"I feel very upset because my Marlon was only 18 and suddenly he is like a baby... it's very difficult," she said.

After the attack, the fair was banned from operating on Durdham Downs.




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