He suffered the worst leg injuries a doctor had ever seen but crash survivor Mark Delf is now home for Christmas.
The father-of-two suffered serious injuries to his leg after his motorbike collided with a pick-up truck in Northumberland in January.
Mr Delf had six major operations to rebuild his legs while in hospital for more than two months. His consultant described as the worst he had ever seen.
And today, as he battles to walk again, he has vowed to enjoy Christmas at home with his family, including nine-month-old baby Sophie - who was born while he was recovering in hospital.
Mr Delf’s partner Karen Scholes gave birth to Sophie on Mother’s Day this year at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where he was being treated.
The plasterer, who is originally from Blyth, Northumberland, but is now living in South Gosforth, Newcastle, said: “I can’t wait for Christmas. We are going to have a lovely time.
“It’s Sophie’s first Christmas and the first Christmas since the accident. We are all looking forward to getting this year finished and looking forward to 2014.”
Mr Delf, 35, was out riding with friends between Scots Gap and Rothbury, in Northumberland, when the accident happened.
He was overtaking a vehicle when it pulled out and abruptly stopped. Mark slammed into the back of the truck and was thrown across the road. He was airlifted to the RVI by the Great North Air Ambulance (GNAA).
The driver of the Nissan Navara has since pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention and was fined £80 and given four penalty points.
Mr Delf, who also has daughter Jessica, two, will now continue to undergo extensive treatment to save his left leg and it is not known how he will recover.
He said: “Although it is awful having two children and not being able to take them out and run and play with them as I’d love to because I am in a wheelchair, I feel so lucky to be alive.
“The policemen who attended the scene of the crash told me afterwards they thought they were dealing with a fatality and didn’t think I’d make it.”
Ms Scholes, a maths teacher at Blyth Academy, was seven months pregnant at the time of the accident. She remembers getting a call from one of Mr Delf’s friends.
She said: “I found out Mark had been injured and the Air Ambulance was there – I suspected then it was very serious, but didn’t know how bad things were. Mark was conscious so that reassured me.
“It was later the realisation began to set in – the accident happened around 11.45am, but he was being treated until almost 4pm, including for an hour at the scene.
“I was moved into a side room at the hospital, with a policeman with me all the time. I was allowed to see Mark for less than a minute, before he was rushed off for more emergency surgery, which took hours. It began to dawn on me how serious this was, and it was frightening.”
Mr Delf who remembers everything about the accident but who says his ambition is to one day be able to ride a motorbrike again, said: “I went to overtake the 4X4 but it pulled in front of me and suddenly.
“I had no where to go other than in the back of the car.”
He added: “The pain I felt when I was lying by the roadside was indescribable and I could see the damage to my legs for myself. I feel so fortunate that as well as GNAA coming so quickly, there was an off-duty A&E consultant from the RVI cycling past, who helped to treat me at the scene, as well as a children’s nurse who tried to distract me until the medics arrived.”
Mr Delf is now confined to a wheelchair and will need further operations and extensive treatment over the coming years.
He said: “I am determined that one day I will be able to walk again, although I have been warned it will most probably take years. And I want to get back on my motorbike again. That probably sounds ridiculous, but I loved everything about being on my bike. The biking community have been such a huge support since my accident that I would love to be able to rejoin them.”
Mr Delf and his partner have thanked medics for their treatment of Mark, but are particularly indebted to GNAA.
Mark Quigley, partner and head of the personal injury department at law firm Sintons, in Newcastle, is representing Mr Delf in securing a settlement.
Paramedic Andy Dalton, part of the air ambulance crew – who attended the incident alongside doctor Rob Anderson - said: “We are pleased to hear that Mark is doing well and wish him all the best for the future.”