A STUNTMAN who was paralysed while filming scenes for Harry Potter is fronting the first ever NHS crowdfunding appeal to raise money for a specialist spinal unit.

David Holmes, of Eastwood Road, Leigh, became an ambassador for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital charity after undergoing seven months of treatment there.

He was paralysed from the chest down and left with only limited use of his arms and hands after a freak accident during the filming of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2009.

Mr Holmes, 30, said: “That hospital gave me my life back. I was in there for seven months after I broke my neck and the support they gave me was incredible. Without places like the Royal, things would be much bleaker for people who suffer spinal injuries.”

The hospital, in Stanmore, North West London, has now launched a crowdfunding appeal to raise £400,000 for its spinal injuries unit.

The Make It Possible project marks the first time an NHS Trust has sought public donations to invest in facilities.

Dr Angela Gall, head of the Spinal Cord Injury Centre, said: “This hospital offers unique treatment that simply doesn’t exist elsewhere.

“Our staff have unrivalled expertise to ensure patients make the very best possible recovery - treating more than 2,000 patients per year from across the UK.

“However, we currently have to turn away patients because of a lack of resources. With more beds we could enable spinal injury patients to start rebuilding their lives quicker.”

Mr Holmes said the hospital is an old building which suffers from financial neglect.

He said: “The main hospital has the government funding to do the work and maintenance needed, but this specific unit struggles with funding.

“It is really positive that they are embracing all different kinds of funding and this is a great way to raise cash.”

Leading orthopaedic surgeon and chair of the crowdfunding panel, Andy Goldberg OBE, said: “This is the very first time that an NHS charity has launched a crowdfunding platform to help make NHS projects happen.

“The Make It Possible project enables patients and their families to support and fund ideas that could benefit them.

“We are delighted that we have already raised nearly £120,000 for the Spinal Cord Injury Centre expansion project. We now need to raise a further £80,000 before the end of October to make the project happen – so the clock is ticking to help patients in need.”

Mr Holmes added: “This is so important to me because spinal injury is something that directly affected me and it is an area that doesn’t attract the same kind of charitable funding that other causes like cancer do.

“With the state of politics as they are, this is something that has to happen.

Text RNOH10 to 70070 to donate £10 or visit makeitpossible.org.uk