Widow survives Stockton bus crash after late husband told her 'to keep fighting'

Carole Attle, 74, was seriously injured in a bus crash in Stockton last year and has faced a long recovery. Credit: GNAAS

A widow who was seriously injured after being hit by bus has said her late husband told her to keep fighting while she was in intensive care because there was "no room upstairs".

Carole Attle was shopping at Matalan when she was involved in the collision in Stockton on 28 July last year.

The 74-year-old from Eaglescliffe said she was unaware of what had happened until five weeks after the incident.

Her daughter Rebecca Dowson was told on several occasions her mother might not survive her injuries.

Mrs Attle said: “When I was in intensive care I don’t know whether it was real or what it was but I woke up one day and I could have sworn my husband was in bed beside me.

"He was saying basically there’s no room upstairs for you and we don’t want you going to the other place, so get yourself pulled round and fighting and get out of here, and I think I turned a corner after that.”

Carole Attle spent weeks in intensive care after the collision. Credit: GNAAS

Mrs Attle had suffered several serious injuries, including a head injury. Bruised from head to toe, she sustained a broken eye socket and nose, three broken ribs on each side of her body, had broken her elbow and suffered a bleed on the brain.

Paramedics from the Great North Air Ambulance (GNAAS) attended the scene, where she was put into a medically induced coma and taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough by the North East Ambulance Service road crew, accompanied by GNAAS’ team.

Mrs Dowson, 50, said: “She spent seven weeks in intensive care and two weeks in the trauma ward, and during that time we had at least four difficult conversations where they advised she wasn’t going to make it.”

She eventually returned home in October but had a care team for a further nine weeks to help with her recovery.

Mrs Dowson said: “She’s missed a big chunk of her life and is still coming to terms with it.

“Even daft things, like when I first started doing her shopping for her, she thought I was spending a lot of money, but she didn’t realise the cost of living had gone up so quick.”

Carole Attle visited the headquarters of the Great North Air Ambulance Service in Eaglescliffe. Credit: GNAAS

The family live near GNAAS’ headquarters in Eaglescliffe, and recently visited to learn more about the charity and offer their thanks for the team’s help.

Mrs Dowson said: “I’m just in total awe of GNAAS as we see them flying past all the time and I always see them and NEAS when I’m at work.

“They’re both a credit to the area and so are the teams at James Cook. I’m not normally short of words, but I can’t put into words how I feel about them. They saved my mum’s life that’s all I can say, I’ve still got my mum and that to me is priceless.”

GNAAS does not receive government funding and needs to raise £7.7m a year to remain operational.

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