A devoted dad was left paralysed from the neck down in a freak accident while playing with his five-year-old daughter.

Ashley Hooper, 31, was playing with his daughter Lottie at a ‘safe’ indoor play area, in South Wales, when he bashed his head on the padded bar of a climbing frame.

The father collapsed in pain and suffered severe spinal damage in the Bridgend-based Once Upon a Playtime centre.

After being rushed to hospital for emergency surgery, doctors operated on his damaged spinal cord, removing bones from his neck to relieve pressure and putting in a metal rod to keep him straight.

Following the operation, the housing company worker has started to regain movement in his toes and legs and his spine has stabilised.

His family are now praying he fully recovers from the tragic incident, with partner Carly Fraser, 29, saying he has made ‘amazing progress’.

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She said: ‘While in the play frame he hit his head on one of the padded bars with such a force it compressed his spine leaving him paralysed from the neck down.

‘His spinal cord is bruised and swollen and because he’s got a narrow spinal canal there wasn’t a lot of room to allow for swelling.

‘The swelling is compressing on nerves which left him in severe pains through his upper body.

‘He is on flat bed rest for six weeks and in time we are hoping and praying that Ashley will start to regain movement of his limbs.

‘He’s already made amazing progress.’

Carly added: ‘The doctors are very happy and while they can’t guarantee anything they believe that he’s heading in the right direction.

‘Recovery of this type of injury varies from person to person but Ashley is so positive and confident and is fighting every single day.

‘All we can all do is hope and pray for the best possible outcome.’

In a bid to show support for Ashley, staff at the Once Upon a Playtime centre have raised more than £500 for him and his family.

A play centre spokeswoman said: ‘We as a staff have been completely devastated by these events, but that does not compare to what Ashley’s family are going through – and we would like to show our support for them.’