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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 December, 2004, 13:05 GMT
Shot BBC man home for Christmas
By Matt Holder
BBC NewsWatch

Frank Gardner
Frank faces a major operation in the New Year
BBC journalist Frank Gardner will be well enough to spend Christmas at home with his family - six months after he was shot in Saudi Arabia.

The security correspondent, who was critically wounded in the Saudi capital Riyadh in June, is continuing to recover in hospital.

The news will be welcomed by the thousands of well-wishers around the world who have called or written to the BBC to offer messages of support and ask about his progress.

However, BBC World Editor Jonathan Baker said: "Although in good health, it is not yet known if he will ever regain the full use of his legs due to spinal nerve damage.

"But he is able to return home for short visits and will be spending Christmas at home with his family."

Gun attack

Frank, 42, was shot in a gun attack in Riyadh while he was working with colleague BBC cameraman Simon Cumbers, 36, who died from his injuries.

The pair were attacked, apparently from a jeep, in a southern suburb of the city as they filmed the house of an al-Qaeda militant.

Simon Cumbers
BBC cameraman Simon Cumbers was killed in the Riyadh gun attack

Frank was flown back to Britain three weeks after the attack and has been having treatment, including physiotherapy and occupational therapy, ever since.

In the New Year, Frank faces a major operation on his abdomen.

Back to work

Once recovered, he is "looking forward to returning to the screen and to the airwaves", said Mr Baker.

He added: "Frank remains in good spirits and is, as ever, very grateful to all those who have been kind enough to send messages of support."

Frank and his wife Amanda have two young daughters.

He was appointed the BBC's security correspondent in the wake of the September 11 attacks. A fluent Arabic speaker, he is a leading expert on al-Qaeda.

Your messages

I look forward to hearing more of your insightful comments about the Middle East
John Pennant, France
I, like many other viewers, was very sad to hear of the attack earlier this year and I am glad to hear that you are recovering well. You are very courageous. I look forward to hearing more of your insightful comments about the Middle East and the war on terror. Wishing you and your family all the best.
John Pennant, France

It takes a brave man to do the kind of work you do. You must be passionate about journalism and that is something to be greatly admired about you. Wishing you a speedy recovery and a joy-filled Christmas with your family.
Cynthia Ayeza, Uganda

I hope you get well soon Frank, you always had the best information and presentation of security issues. See you on air soon! Merry Christmas.
Salman, Canada

Hi Frank, we were just thinking about you today and wondering how you are getting on. So glad to hear that you are on the mend and will be at home for Christmas. Happy Christmas!
Rebecca and Marcus Wright, Singapore (ex Bahrain)

There are all too few television journalists around the world whose thoughtful and objective reports you know you can trust. Frank is one of them. I wish him continued recovery and a blessed Christmas with his family.
David Winfield, Switzerland

I, like many other viewers, was
Best wishes for a very Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year!
Lynn Morrison, UK
I hope you continue to make great improvements in your health and I look forward to having you back on television soon. You are one very good reporter and I certainly do miss you. Best wishes for a very Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year!
Lynn Morrison, UK

Frank, thinking of you and willing you back on air soon - you are much missed! From the ABC's Radio National Breakfast team, down under.
Jacquie Harvey, Australia

You've been in my thoughts, as in the thoughts of many Americans who have appreciated your concise and thoughtful reports from the Mid East. I/we admire your quiet bravery and tireless journalism. Best wishes for your recovery.
Phoebe Bosche, USA

Dear Frank, your well balanced and highly informative reporting is greatly missed. I can't wait to hear you back on the airwaves. I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. All the best for the New Year operation!!!!
Chris Wilshaw, England

Dear Frank. It's good to hear that you are progressing, even though it seems very hard at times, I'm sure! Don't give up!! You are a very talented journalist with still a few more good stories left in you!!! Wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas and all good things for the New Year.
Roz Anderson, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

I look forward to seeing and hearing him again on TV soon
Anne Wood, UK
So pleased to hear Frank is on the road to recovery. I was wondering how he was doing and praying that he would soon be feeling better. Please pass on my best wishes for a wonderful Xmas and New Year with his family. I look forward to seeing and hearing him again on TV soon.
Anne Wood, UK

I just want to wish Frank Gardiner a full recovery from his injuries suffered in Iraq. I always thought his reports were well presented, well informed and honest. It's good to know that he's making progress and I look forward to seeing him on the screen again. All the very best to you Frank and your family this Christmas and coming year.
Len Oliver, Scotland

All thinking people are in debt to the courage and integrity of journalists like Frank Gardner. I hope and pray for his full and robust return to his honourable profession.
Tim Warner, Egypt

I was wondering about Frank only the other day and am pleased to read of his progress and delighted that he is well enough to be at home for Christmas. I was not aware of the degree of injuries he suffered and I am hoping and praying that Frank makes the fullest possible recovery. As someone who has worked in the Arabian Peninsular on and off for 20+ years I am aware of the respect that Frank is held by many in the region. I am sure that many in the UK, in the Arabic world and further afield will be delighted when we can hear Frank's analysis of news in the Middle East once again.
Stephen B, Thailand

Frank, it was so sad to have read and heard what happened to you in Saudi Arabia in the summer. I have been thinking about your bravery ever since and happy to have read just now that you will be spending Christmas with your family. You are so positive and great to read you are looking forward to work, again soon. All the best in your recovery and God's speed. PS, I'm called BBC by my friends as it appears I'm addicted. I listen on my way to work, on my way home (while driving) and while at home. You guys are great.
Richard Kidd, Jamaica

Gardner 'touched' by wellwishers
07 Jul 04 |  UK News
Two BBC men shot in Saudi capital
07 Jun 04 |  Middle East


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