IT was no ordinary Friday 13th, Paula Rea of Longtown was being especially careful and had still left her bank card in the supermarket. Having just got off the phone to them she heard a bump outside and rushed out to find husband of 45 years, David, lying unconscious in their back garden.

"As he came around his initial concern was that I was shouting because he'd used the wrong dishcloth!" Paula said. It took a full 24 hours for the couple to realise the seriousness of the event that took place on October 13, 2017.

A retired graphic designer, David, 67, was working part-time doing people's gardens. "No-one is more careful than David," his wife said.

While he was pottering around on the verge outside their previous home in Longtown a passing vehicle knocked David off his feet. He fell into some nearby guttering, which was pulled off the wall, and was knocked unconscious.

"I had heard a car with a trailer approaching and was waiting for it to pass," David said. "Which is the last thing I remember."

Now the couple, who have since moved to Ewyas Harold, is appealing to witnesses who may have seen or noticed something at the time. Following after the car which hit David was a white Transit van, similar to many delivery or workmen's vehicles.

"We want people to understand the repercussions of that day. The white van driver may have spotted the first vehicle even if they didn't see David lying on the ground," Paula said.

Stones were moved and plants were knocked over, showing that the passing vehicle had swerved off the road as it passed.

"Although there is only a row of half a dozen houses there was never an investigation.

"I close my eyes and I can see that white van now as though it was two seconds ago," said Paula, who feels disappointed by the lack of follow up.

Initially shaken but with lingering symptoms the couple got the all-clear from both Abergavenny hospital and an opticians so things didn't look too serious. Six months on and David has had to have two operations and hasn't worked a day since.

"I think we were in denial," Paula said. "We couldn't believe someone wouldn't stop. You know when you've hit something."

The community were equally shocked and have been hugely kind and supportive to the couple.

An initial brain scan showed no damage but six weeks later things were still not right and David went missing in Hereford suffering symptoms similar to dementia or a mild stroke. Tesco Belmont were great at repatriating David with his wife who was waiting for him at home. Obviously concerned, Paula took action and involved the local GP who referred David straight to Birmingham where he underwent an operation on his brain.

"I was lying in bed thinking 'my life's gone, I won't do any artwork again,'" David said as he realised his lifelong love of art was slipping away from him.

"Many people wouldn't have recovered nearly so well, he forces himself beyond what a normal person would cope with," Paula said of her fit husband who walked for miles and was light as a feather before the incident.

While recuperating from his operation it became apparent that David's sight was still not improving and following further investigation it transpired his retina had detached and another operation was required, this time at Hereford County Hospital.

"For him, the thought of losing his eyesight was especially grim," Paula said.

He had no vision in his left eye following the surgery but things are improving day by day and he is now left with just a partial sight impairment, though cannot draw.

"I'm trying to get us through this period, surviving on one state pension," David said.

PC Bradley from the Golden Valley Police said: "We have investigated it, appealed for witnesses and made local enquiries and unfortunately, to date, we haven't found the driver. We would appeal to anyone to come forward with information regarding this incident which has caused great distress and life-changing injuries to Mr Rea." Call PC Bradley on 07976 938755 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

"We had planned to enjoy ourselves for these five years, post-retirement, but it's all been taken away really. Emotionally it's a bit grim," Paula said.

"Until someone actually admits it, everybody who is innocent is under suspicion," Paula said. "Even if nothing else could happen, if you could identify the why, the who...we could have closure.

"If someone had been able to keep their car on the road, think what it would have saved the NHS."