Boy, 15, in a vegetative state after flip off pier went wrong

Jack Dolan, 15, was left seriously brain damaged after the stunt in Margate, Kent (Picture: David Dolan/Triangle News)

A 15-year-old boy has been left in a vegetative state after landing head first during a flip off a pier.

Jack Dolan was with his friends and girlfriend in Margate, Kent when he jumped off Stone Pier, performing a move he’d successfully done elsewhere several times before.

But this time his head hit the water first and he was knocked out. The youngster was pulled out by his friends shortly after, but he had been left virtually brain-dead.

While his brain stem shows signs of activity and he is breathing for himself, the rest of his brain is severely damaged and he will not recover.

Doctors, however, don’t know how long he will live, saying it could be weeks or years.

It was the first time Jack, who has ADHD, had been allowed to go to the beach without his mum Lisa and stepdad Dave.

Distraught, Dave, 35, who has brought Jack up as his own, said: ‘I think he misjudged it and he landed face first on the water and knocked himself out.

The teenager has two younger sisters, Faith, ten, and Grace, eight

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‘It was only three or four metres and if he’d landed a quarter rotation one way or the other he would probably have been fine.

‘That’s why we can’t be angry at him. He’d done it so many times before, there is no blame.

‘I know he was laughing, I can actually see him doing it, smiling and being a complete show off.

‘The last thing he would have known was being happy.’

A final picture of Jack taken just half an hour before it happened, on June 23, shows him smiling as he arrives at Margate Station with a friend.

Jack, a pupil at the Howard School in Medway, had most recently performed the flip in September on holiday in Egypt.

The last picture of Jack, left, taken as he and a friend arrived in Margate (Picture: David Dolan/Triangle News)

His parents hadn’t allowed him to go to the beach without them previously as his ADHD means he ‘acts before he thinks,’ Dave said.

‘It was the first time we’d let him,’ he added.

‘We’d always said no because we were quite strict. But he was 15 and we wanted to give him a bit more freedom.’

Dave said he was proud of Jack’s friends for their actions following the horrifying accident.

Jack would have been laughing and smiling in his last moments, says stepdad Dave (Picture: David Dolan/Triangle News)

One rang 999 while his girlfriend immediately contacted Jacks mum, who rushed to the popular beach town.

He was treated by paramedics before being taken to King’s College Hospital by air ambulance, but MRI scans show his brain is beyond repair.

When doctors withdrew his life support. the youngster breathed for himself, but his parents say that is about as much as his body can do.

He will now need round-the-clock end-of life care, something the Dolans cannot provide for him in their current council flat in Rainham, Kent, so they are hoping to move to more suitable accommodation.

Dave, an area supervisor for a facilities management company, said: ‘He can’t go to a children’s hospice because you have to be close to death. He’s off life support and breathing, but doing nothing else.

‘His eyes flutter sometimes but he’s asleep most of the time.

‘We want to take him home, but we live in a maisonette and we can’t have him here.

‘We need two reception rooms, a downstairs closet and wet room.’

The family, which includes Jack’s sisters Faith, ten, and Grace, eight, were given an option of fostering Jack out but Dave said they would never consider this.

Jack performing a flip on holiday in Egypt last September (Picture: David Dolan/Triangle News)

If they can find a new home they will need to complete renovations quickly to make it suitable for Jack and purchase the mass of equipment he will no doubt need.

To help cover the costs, they have set up a Just Giving page and have so far raised £12,000 of its £20,000 target.

Dave said it is the least they can do for Jack, adding: ‘We’ve looked after him this far and I won’t turn my back on him now.

‘We want to bring him home as soon as we can.’

Meanwhile Lisa, 33, is learning to care for Jack from the doctors and nurses in London and will give up her job in finance.

Jack loved to show off, said Dave and friend Sam (Picture: David Dolan/Triangle News)

Sam Cass, who organised the crowdfunder for Jack, described him as ‘the biggest joker, with a heart of gold’.

He added: ‘He loves to show off in front of girls and won’t leave the house without doing his hair.

‘He loves his family, will do anything for his sisters and this fundraiser is to take a little bit of the burden away from them.

‘Many people love Jack and I’m sure they all wish the family wasn’t going through this right now.’

To donate visit Jack’s Just Giving page.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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