Des Coleman pays tribute to Royal Derby Hospital staff who treated his EastEnders pal Dean Gaffney after A38 smash
ONE of actor Dean Gaffney's former EastEnders co-stars has praised staff at the Royal Derby Hospital for their "exemplary" help after his road crash.
Mr Gaffney was on his way to Des Coleman's house when his Mini Cooper hit a central barrier on the southbound A38, between Markeaton roundabout and Kingsway.
He suffered serious head injuries.
Mr Gaffney, 34, was staying with Mr Coleman while playing Patrick in Agatha Christie's A Murder Is Announced at Derby Theatre.
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The pair have been pals since both joined the cast of EastEnders in 1993.
Mr Coleman, who lives in Derby, said: "Dean realises how close he was to saying goodbye. It was severe."
Mr Coleman rushed to the hospital after receiving a call telling him Mr Gaffney had been involved in the crash, on Wednesday, January 30.
"I arrived there less than an hour after he had the smash," he said.
"I got there as they were changing his bandages.
"He had this huge gash on his forehead. You could see through to his skull. It was not a pretty sight.
"Dean would say 'what's it like' and I'd tell him 'It's not too bad mate, it's not too bad at all' but I felt sick inside. I was quite concerned all the way through.
"The staff at the hospital were exemplary with the way they dealt with Dean. They really were phenomenal."
Mr Coleman said he visited Mr Gaffney almost every day while he was at the hospital.
"Dean is back to work now," he said.
"He has worked hard over the past few years and has worked on his image.
"The amount of people who have shown their support and well wishes for Dean is phenomenal. It's great to see he is on the road to recovery."
Mr Gaffney, from Dorking, Surrey, played Robbie Jackson in the BBC One soap.
Mr Coleman, who played Lenny Wallace for three years, said: "We've kept in contact since EastEnders.
"Because I work up and down the country I've stayed at his and vice-versa."
Mr Coleman, who is celebrating 20 years in TV, said: "I'm lucky enough to have done film, TV and musicals. This year I'm going to embark on a tour to drama schools and give something back by talking to the pupils."
He attended the Guildford School of Acting in Surrey and has since worked as a weatherman for the BBC and has had parts in Doctors, Casualty and The Bill.