I'm feeling glad all over: Dave Clark Five star is going home after four years in hospital


Last updated at 01:02 19 May 2007

He used to travel the globe followed by hordes of screaming fans, but for the last four years Mike Smith’s world has been his hospital room.

The former singer and keyboard

player with the 1960s pop group

the Dave Clark Five was left

paralysed in a freak accident when he

fell while trying to climb a gate at

his Spanish villa.

Since then he has been treated at

Stoke Mandeville Hospital in

Buckinghamshire learning how to cope with

being paralysed from the neck down.

Now at last he has been told he can

go home to live with his wife Charlie –

and the 63-year-old says he cannot wait to experience the simple

pleasures which most take for granted.

"It’s the little things I am looking

forward to – having an ice-cream or a

picnic and drives through the countryside

seeing grass, trees and cows," he said.

"It is exciting but scary at the same

time. There are some things that

terrify me, like being stuck in a crowd in

my wheelchair.

"It is treading into the

unknown. This hospital has been my

home for the past four years but it has

been like a prison for me.

"Now I am

going to be out there and have my

freedom again."

The Dave Clark Five sold 100 million

records around the world with hits

such as Bits And Pieces while their

song Glad All Over knocked the

Beatles’ I Want To Hold Your Hand off the

top spot.

But clashes within the group led to

them splitting up in 1971. Smith went

on to sing with other bands and

produce records for the likes of Dame

Shirley Bassey and Michael Ball.

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He also married his long-lost

sweetheart Charlie, 64, in October 2001, 35

years after they first dated. The pair

had lost contact but the actress

tracked him down in 1999.

Their happiness was cut short in

September 2003 when Smith, who

was trying to climb a 7ft gate after

locking himself out of their villa, fell

heavily and landed on his head.

He cracked his spine in three places

and was left a tetraplegic.

Smith has regained enough use of

his left arm to operate an electric

wheelchair but a tracheotomy he

underwent means he can speak only

through a plastic microphone and

tube attached to his throat.

As well as having to relearn simple

tasks, he is also facing a legal battle

against a charity set up to raise cash

for his treatment.

The Royal Theatrical Fund set up

an appeal to help pay for equipment

for him – but Smith and his wife claim

they have received only a pair of

glasses and a television, while £11,000

remains unaccounted for.

The fund has denied the allegations,

saying it has paid out £20,000 to the


When Smith returns to his home in

Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, within

the next three months he will have

two full-time carers on hand round

the clock to dress and feed him.

His home has been adapted to

accommodate his wheelchair but the

couple are desperate to raise £50,000

for a van big enough for the chair.

They have already raised about

£13,000 with pledges pouring in for an

eBay charity auction from celebrities

including Roger Daltrey, Sir Cliff

Richard and Ringo Starr.

Anyone wanting to donate should

visit www.mikesmith1964.com