remarkable recovery | 

First Dates star reveals incredible injury coincidence that helped woo his on-screen partner

Meath man Shane Clavin (36), was paired off with Dubliner Avril Hanafin in what was his first date for over fourteen years following a serious accident that left him fighting for his life
The happy couple

The happy couple

Gerry Hand

A star of the hit TV show, First Dates has revealed the incredible coincidence that helped him bond with the partner he was introduced to when he recorded his episode last November, and who he is still seeing today.

And he has revealed that his 'no bullshit' policy had a massive impact in wooing his date.

Meath man Shane Clavin (36), was paired off with Dubliner Avril Hanafin in what was his first date for over fourteen years following a serious accident that had left him fighting for his life.

He recalled, ' In December 2006 I was at a work Christmas party in Maynooth when I fell and banged my head, I ended up ICU and on a life support machine for a week and a half, so naturally when I met Avril for the first time I told her about it.

'I couldn't believe it when she said she completely understood what I had gone through, as incredibly her dad had been through almost exactly the same experience, it meant we had something in common to talk about.

'Talk about coincidence, it was a subject I was dreading bringing up and as it turned out she was an expert on it and completely got what I went through.

'I'll admit I was nervous going on to the show and I didn't quite know what to expect but that topic kind of broke the ice, and as I recall the time on our first date flew by and I really enjoyed it, we sort of hit it off and came to like each other almost immediately.

'Eight months on and we are still enjoying each others company but there are no imminent plans to change our accommodation arrangements!'

Shane described the whole story of his fall and remarkable recovery on his application form to the show, but now he reveals for the first time the precise moment he decided that despite all the odds being against him he was going to recover from the traumatic incident.

'I was in a relationship when the accident happened but that broke up not long afterwards, I also lost a lot of friends around that time, people I would have known for a long time.

'It wasn't anyone's fault really but they just didn't know how to act around me or how to deal with what had happened to me, I could understand that as I struggled to deal with it myself, I had a hell of a recovery to make, I mean at one stage the medics feared I might never walk again, and believe me it is not easy hearing that.

'Then one day I thought to myself about the sacrifices my mother was making to ensure I had a normal life and decided to stop being a burden on her.

'Of course she would never have seen me as a burden, that is how Mammys are, but it is how I saw myself, and there and then I decided I was going to get better.

'I suppose I was always a fighter, I used to box a bit with Jody Keegan in the South Meath club, and I hurled with Na Fianna, well it was Baconstown at the time, so I had a reasonable level of fitness anyway.

'I decided to get self sufficient. Before the accident I worked as a metal fabricator, but now my brother and I run our own furniture business installing kitchens and wardrobes, that sort of thing.

'I can walk again and I'm fully functional, the only lasting side effect was I lost my sense of smell, which is no bad thing around this time of year with all the silage being cut.'

When a died in the wool Meath man first met a city slicker things could have gone either way, but Shane says he knows why it all worked out fairly well.

'Avril's a proper Dub, she lives near Clondalkin and she hadn't dated for a few years either, she is a single Mum so she probably hadn't the time, but we were both genuine with each other.

'There was no hiding behind a facade, no fake bullshit, we just kept it real, told it as it was and it worked.

'Thanks be to God it seems to be still working.'

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