Inspired by the prospect of walking his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day, a man made a “miraculous” recovery following a life-threatening motorcycle accident.
Graham Holdsworth, of Horden, County Durham, was in a coma for three weeks after colliding with a pick-up-drawn horsebox while out on a drive in September last year.
Mr Holdsworth sustained multiple, life-threatening injuries in the collision on the A168 between Topcliffe and Thirsk. As well as a fractured skull, he smashed his pelvis and shattered his legs.
The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) flew its doctor-led trauma team to the scene. After advanced medical procedures were carried out on the roadside, Mr Holdsworth was flown to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
“They didn’t think I was going to survive,” he said this week.
His family were braced for the worst, but little by little Mr Holdsworth began to improve. After months of rehabilitation, he forced himself out of his wheelchair and onto his crutches in time to walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.
“There were a lot of goals along the way but that was my main one,” he said. “It meant so much to me and my family.”
Mr Holdsworth’s daughter Cleo Millgate, 29, of Darlington, said: “Throughout his recovery, and even when he was unconscious, I kept saying to him ‘you’re walking me down the aisle, you’ve got six months’. It did give him focus.
“It was the proudest moment of my life to have him by my side, walking me down the aisle on my wedding day. It’s difficult to express how much that meant.
“I can’t thank the air ambulance medics enough for what they have done for our family.”
Mr Holdsworth’s partner Barbara Petrie, of Norton, near Stockton-on-Tees, is now raising money for GNAAS, which does not receive Government funding and relies on public donations to survive.
Ms Petrie said: “It really was a miracle. Without the air ambulance getting him to hospital so quickly it would have been a very different story.”
Mandy Drake, deputy director at GNAAS, said: “It is great to hear that Graham is on the mend after what was an horrific incident. The money raised by Barbara will go directly to keep the aircraft flying so that the service can continue to fly life-saving missions throughout the region.”
Ms Petrie takes part in the Middlesbrough 10k this weekend. To sponsor her, visit: https://www.createanddonate.co.uk/to/middlesbrough-10k-september-8th/