A motorcyclist has thanked the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) which went to his aid after a serious crash.
David Hollins, 63, was on a ride out with his brother Michael when his bike came off the road near Kielder Water Bird of Prey Centre and hit a wall on September 22, 2013.
The grandfather-of-six from Scorton, near Richmond, said: “I have no memories of the incident but I came off the road and crashed into a wall.”
Daughter Emma Hollins, 30, from Richmond, said: “Michael realised that dad wasn’t following him so he turned back and that is when he saw he had crashed. We’re not sure whether he hit a curb or what.
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“When I found out it was devastating. We were in complete shock.”
Mr Hollins had suffered a fractured back and neck and the GNAAS air medics treated him at the scene before he was flown to the Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary where he spent ten days, and a further five months at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Miss Hollins said: “The neurosurgeon said he had stretched his spinal cord to the max and when he woke, he might not be able to hold the weight of his own body.
“There was huge relief when we knew this wasn’t the case and he was on the road to recovery.”
Mr Hollins now has a titanium plate fitted in his neck and he recently visited the GNAAS Langwathby airbase to meet paramedic Terry Sharpe and pilot Owen McTeggart who were on board the aircraft at the time, alongside Miss Hollins and her son David.
Miss Hollins said: “They saved dad. He wouldn’t be here without them.”
Mr Hollins, a former programmer at Chas. Long & Son Aggregates in Richmond, said: “It’s been emotional but nice to see the crew. They do a marvellous job. I can’t thank everyone enough.”
Mr Hollin’s mother, Margaret Hollins, raised hundreds of pounds for GNAAS after asking for donations for the charity at her 90th birthday in January 2016 at the Farmer’s Arms in Scorton.
GNAAS is celebrating 15 years as a charity. To find out how you can help, please visit www.gnaas.com