Norfolk deli owner suffers severe spinal injuries in Ibiza diving accident

Wells Deli owners Matt Jarvis and Kiki Alvarez after Mr Jarvis' accident in Ibiza

Wells Deli owners Matt Jarvis and Kiki Alvarez after Mr Jarvis' accident in Ibiza - Credit: Kiki Alvarez

A Norfolk man has been left with severe spinal injuries following a diving accident on holiday. 

Matt Jarvis, who runs Wells Deli on the north Norfolk coast, was enjoying a break in Ibiza until tragedy struck during a trip to the beach. 

As he and friends jumped from rocks of around three metres high into the sea on Sunday, June 12, the 33-year-old slipped and fell into shallow water, hitting his neck. 

Wells Deli owners Matt Jarvis and Kiki Alvarez

Wells Deli owners Matt Jarvis and Kiki Alvarez - Credit: Kiki Alvarez

Seeing Mr Jarvis face down in the water, his friends initially thought he was looking for a lost piece of jewellery, before realising something was wrong. 

They rushed to help him and lifeguards, noticing the commotion, were soon on the scene. Recognising the gravity of the situation, they called for an ambulance.

Unable to move his limbs, Mr Jarvis was swiftly in hospital and being taken for an MRI scan. Doctors discovered he had fractured the C5 and C6 vertebrae in his neck due to a slipped disc. 

Aware by now of Mr Jarvis' condition, his partner, Kiki Alvarez - back in the UK - was on the first available flight to Ibiza and by his bedside following emergency surgery. 

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"That surgeon pretty much saved his life," said Ms Alvarez.

Matt Jarvis, from Wells, pictured in hospital after his accident in Ibiza

Matt Jarvis, from Wells, pictured in hospital after his accident in Ibiza - Credit: Kiki Alvarez

"Matt was in a little bit of shock when he woke up, but he had been told before surgery what had happened. 

"He didn't really know quite how bad it was. Being in a place where you don't speak the language made it even harder."

Mr Jarvis was kept in intensive care for several days - the "hardest part" of the ordeal for Ms Alvarez and his parents, who were only permitted to visit one at a time for an hour, twice a day.

Now in a private room, Mr Jarvis is focused on the road to recovery and receiving visits twice a day from a physiotherapist.

Ms Alvarez described his progress so far as "pretty amazing".

Norfolk man Matt Jarvis in hospital after his accident in Ibiza

Norfolk man Matt Jarvis in hospital after his accident in Ibiza - Credit: Kiki Alvarez

She added: "His left side is a little bit better than his right, but he is already moving his arms and legs. He can sit up when he's eating or with the physio.

"He gets really tired. To him it is like lifting 300kg because the strength is just not there. It is still difficult to move his hands, especially the right one. 

"He is being super-positive, even though he is still not moving very much. It's just the way he is. He is an incredible person."

Fundraising response 'overwhelming'

Mr Jarvis remains in Ibiza in the hope he will soon be able to fly home via air ambulance, but faces a lengthy insurance delay. 

He may instead be able to take a commercial flight once his condition improves.

Kiki Alvarez and Matt Jarvis pictured during a visit to Barcelona

Kiki Alvarez and Matt Jarvis pictured during a visit to Barcelona - Credit: Kiki Alvarez

In the meantime, friends have launched a £100,000 fundraiser for Mr Jarvis' rehabilitation once he is back on British soil. 

While rehab would be available on the NHS, there is currently a two to three-month waiting list. 

As Mr Jarvis requires immediate therapy, his only initial option is to seek private treatment - costing £9,000 per week.

The public response so far - more than £30,000 in donations - has been "truly overwhelming", admitted Ms Alvarez. 

She said: "We are really amazed by the support and kindness and all the messages. 

"Everyone is being so lovely and, in time, we hope to make the money back through the deli and return it to them. If they don't want it, we will donate it to good causes."

Donations can be made at gofund.me/c73e4a6d.