A MOTHER whose two children were left fighting for their lives after a head-on car crash has held an annual fundraising evening to raise money for charity.
Brother and sister, Jack and Sophie Handyside, suffered serious injuries following the crash in Staindrop, County Durham in September 2012.
Now, the family have handed over more than £2,000 to the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) after their latest fundraising event.
The service sent two of its aircraft to the incident where Sophie, now 10, suffered a fractured skull and broken wrist, while Jack, now 12, had a bleed on the brain which was severely swollen.
Julie Elstob, a nurse, of Butterknowle, near Bishop Auckland, said: “It’s amazing how far they have come on. I am so proud of them both.”
More than 150 tickets were sold for the fundraising night, held at Butterknowle Village Hall, and guests were each asked to bring an old piece of clothing.
The clothes were bagged up into more than 20 sacks and given to GNAAS to raise even more funds through their clothes collection service, based at Newton Aycliffe.
Ms Elstob said: “We get great support in the local community and tickets always sell fast. Everyone knows the importance of the local air ambulance. Jack and Sophie are living proof of the amazing work it does. If it wasn’t for them they wouldn’t be here.
“The fundraising evening is an annual event because we will never be able to thank the air ambulance enough for what they did.”
Ms Elstob was told Jack may never walk again but he has defied the odds and recently returned as goalkeeper to his school football team. He will start at Staindrop Secondary School in September, while Sophie will be in her last year at Butterknowle Primary School.
Mandy Drake, head of fundraising at GNAAS said: “We want to say a big thank you to the family who are great supporters of the charity. They get behind us every year and we appreciate every penny raised. The crew met with Jack and Sophie at a family fun day last week and they loved seeing the progress they had made. It is a very proud moment for our medics when they see happy, healthy patients.”