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'We felt a great big hug' - Guido's mum thanks Ireland for support

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Guido Nasi

Guido Nasi

Guido Nasi

The mother of Guido Nasi said she has fulfilled her "most cherished wish" after finally getting the chance to thank the Irish public for supporting her only child following his life-changing assault.

Simonetta Nasi (76) was given a warm welcome when she appeared on Friday night's Late Late Show alongside wheelchair-user Guido, his carer and Dublin-based family friend Bernadette Kelly.

Guido was left paralysed, partially sighted, unable to feed himself and needing 24/7 care when he was mindlessly struck over the head with a bottle in Dublin 20 years ago.

Despite his irreversible injuries, the Italian and his mother have maintained a deep affection for Ireland, not least thanks to the solidarity and compassion they have received from many Irish people.

In a heartfelt letter written by Simonetta and read out on the Late Late by former victim support volunteer Bernadette, the extent of the Turin man's gratitude became clear.

Simonetta, who is fighting pancreatic cancer, wrote: "I am taking this opportunity as it may be the last time I have to do this because of my own illness.

"The reason the Irish public are all so important is that you helped us to survive this tragedy, to accept life and to help Guido believe in his remaining capacity.

Wonderful

"There are no words to show our gratitude to the people of Ireland for what you have done.

"Since the day of the attack, this country has shown us great solidarity in helping us. We felt a great big hug from young and old.

"We will never forget the help we received. Thank you all for everything. It has been a pleasure knowing such a wonderful country."

Speaking after the show, Bernadette, a fluent Italian speaker, said Simonetta was "extremely moved" by the warm reception she has had since arriving in Dublin with her son for a short visit.

She said: "Ever since Guido was attacked, Simonetta has continued to receive messages of goodwill and cards from the Irish public.

"She's always wanted to come over and thank them, and she finally got the opportunity on The Late Late Show. It really meant everything to her to be able to do that. It was her most cherished wish."

Guido (36) was guest of honour at the Guinness Storehouse on Saturday, followed by a party in his honour at Bernadette's home.

He is set for more red carpet treatment today when he meets President Michael D Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain at a special event to mark the 25th anniversary of the Irish Tourist Assistance Service.

Guido had been a fun-loving and able-bodied 17-year-old until the moment in 1999 when he was struck over the head with a bottle in Dublin's Fairview Park.

Despite his extensive injuries, Guido has written a memoir, which is expected to be published in October this year.

The book, Una Vita Spezzata - which translates as A Shattered Life - has been supported by a leading Italian publishing company.

It is expected to revisit in detail the horrific day when Guido was left paralysed.

In 2001, James Osbourne, then aged 31, from East Wall, Dublin, was jailed for eight-and-a-half years for the attack. He was released in May 2008.