A BMX rider left brain damaged after an unprovoked attack in Shortlands three years ago has managed to get on his bike for the first time since the incident.

And Jamie McKechnie, from Lee, has further reason to celebrate - he is marrying his fiancee, 28-year-old Ellen Murphy, on September 20.

On August 15 2011 the 27-year-old was punched in the head at Shortlands station.

He was airlifted to King's Hospital in Camberwell, where doctors gave him a 30 per cent chance of survival.

Ellen said: "We had just got home from a holiday that morning and Jamie had gone out with his friends to go to the pub.

"At about 10pm I got a call from one of this friends saying he had been punched. I didn't think that much of it at that stage.

"That night the doctors said his life was in the balance because it was such a bad injury, the swelling in his brain was so bad."

Jamie was in a coma for the next few weeks, fighting for his life.

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Ellen said: "During that period the doctors couldn't really tell us whether he would progress or not.

"When he came around he had changed a lot physically - before he was quite muscular - and he was really skinny, his muscles were wasting away.

"His voice had been affected by the injury. When he first started speaking he was very quiet and his speech was badly impeded.

"He was very child-like. He needed a lot of support and help with things and a lot of care. He was vulnerable."

Jamie, who was left in a wheelchair, is now able to walk with a the aid of a stick, while his voice has also improved.

Ellen added: "As time has gone by he has become more and more himself. He has a really positive outlook and wants to enjoy the life he has.

"He's been doing great - he's been able to ride his BMX again.

"It's amazing - he still uses a walking stick when he walks but he's able to ride a bike."

Jamie is also working at Bikeworks in Whitechapel, every Wednesday, as a mechanical engineer.

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Speaking with the help of his fiancee, he said: "I feel like I'm really slowly improving. My voice is getting better.

"I'm so happy I can ride. It is like freedom, a sense of freedom. I can do whatever I want and go wherever. 

"It is like a new part of me. I used to have that sense and now I have got it back.

"I'm really looking forward to the wedding as well - I just need to write my vows."

Jamie's attacker, Andrew Ellis, of Martins Road, Shortlands, was jailed for three years in May 2012 for the attack after he was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm at Croydon Crown Court.

Ellen says he was released from prison last summer.