HE is one of the world's biggest stars.
Chris Martin has earned millions as the frontman of top band Coldplay and is almost as well known for his marriage to Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow.
But despite his money and fame, he has found time to write to a Stockbridge dad who has melted his heart.
In a heart-warming and humble email Chris has personally thanked quadruple amputee Alex Lewis for “renewing his faith in life” after the band donated £10,000 to help the young dad walk again.
The singer had read Alex's battle to survive against the odds in the Daily Echo and told how he was moved by his determination to live life despite losing all four limbs and part of his face after a common cold turned into a flesh-eating bug saying he handled it with 'awesome force'.
Dad-of-one Alex, who is just back from a prosthetics bootcamp in America, said the star's kindness has spurred him on in his battle to get back his independence back.
“I am totally amazed. It all feels a bit surreal,” he said.
“It was just absolutely lovely, very very cool. It is quite incredible to think they have read about the story in Los Angeles and chosen to help out. I feel very honoured.
“Already I can't thank people enough for all their kindness and support they have showed me and now Chris Martin too. Wow.”
Alex, pictured above with son Sam, four, described how his fiancée Lucy Townsend, who runs The Greyhound on the Test pub in Stockbridge, alerted him to a donation to the Alex Lewis Trust which has so far raised £225,000 for his recovery and rehabilitation.
He said: “Lucy opened a bank statement and said: 'Have you seen this?' I said 'no' and she said: 'There's a credit here for £10,000.' I said bloody hell, who was that? She said: 'Coldplay'
“I said whatever Luce, and then she said seriously it is written on the statement.”
Overwhelmed, Alex phoned up the superstar's office to thank him for the donation, who told him the frontman wanted to contact him personally.
Coldplay, whose drummer Will Champion is from Southampton, have recently appeared on The Sunday Times Giving List produced in association with the Charities Aid Foundation for giving £3.8million to charity in the past year including £1.45million to a children's charity.
True to his word, within days a special email pinged up on Alex's iPad which he operates using his split hook artificial arm and a piece of rubber.
Its title read: 'From Chris Martin (Coldplay)'.
The 38-year-old dad to Moses, eight, and Apple, 10, wrote: “Dear Alex, I hope you don't mind me writing out of the blue.
“I was very moved by your story having read about it recently and wanted to reach out and say how incredible your approach to life is and inspiring.
“It seems like you have been on an amazing journey and handled it with awesome force.
“I wonder if you have ever read 'Man's Search for Meaning' by Viktor Frankl. I think you would like it. Anyway please let me know if and how we might ever be of help to you.
“I hope you are doing good and thank you for renewing my faith in life.
For Alex, the surprise contact he received from the world famous band could not have come at a better time because for the first time in his recovery he is frustrated.
Today he is just back from America where he attended a prosthetics bootcamp thanks to Hampshire charity Pilgrim Bandits and he believes the UK's NHS prosthetics are letting him and fellow amputees down.
Now 16 months since he lay in a hospital bed fighting for his life when the normally harmless bacterial infection Group A Streptococcus developed into septicaemia and toxic shock syndrome leading to multiple organ failure, the former Peter Symonds College pupil said he feels upset he still relies on his wheelchair.
Though he has taken his first steps unaided on shorter artificial limbs called rockers, Alex said the heavy design with clumpy wooden feet made it impossible to master how to walk again.
He has now been fitted with shorter artificial legs he has nicknamed “elephant feet” but the NHS version requires a carer to help strap them on.
The US version are much lighter and have suction pads which amputees would be able to take on and off themselves therefore requiring less care but they are not available on the NHS.
Alex, who is undergoing further surgery to reconstruct his lips on May 13, said rather than return to the 6ft man he was before the infection, he simply wants his independence and to help other civilian amputees.
“I can see what can be achieved now and it's amazing how far behind we are in comparison to the US market. The rockers I had, have been no part of American medicine for 50 years.
“With no arms I can't physically put them on myself. I have to take them off to go to the loo and then can't get them back on myself so I rely on people being around.
“It feels as if our system pushes people like me into full time care but I just want my life back. I don't understand whether inadvertent or not, they are making it much harder in the UK for people to learn to walk again.”
Now home at Stockbridge with his four-year-old son Sam, Alex is desperate to get back to being a hands-on dad.
“I'm not in a rush. I'm not shouting to be 6ft again. That whole idyllic situation just isn't realistic at the moment.
“Of course when you have lost your legs and your arms you want to look like a normal person. But at the same time you want to be able to live - to go outside, pick your kids up from school and to achieve that, there needs to be greater patient choice.
“I don't mind being the same height as my son. What I do want though is independence and now the sun is starting to shine all I think is if only I could walk outside with Sam.”