Dad makes ‘miracle’ recovery from motorbike smash to walk his daughter down the aisle

Graham Holdsworth with daughter Cleo Millgate on her wedding day
Graham Holdsworth with daughter Cleo Millgate on her wedding day

A DAD made a “miraculous” recovery after suffering a fractured skull and smashed pelvis in motorbike crash so he could walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.

Graham Holdsworth 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, from Horden, 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 flew its doctor-led trauma team to the scene and flew him to the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

“They didn’t think I was going to survive,” he said.

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, is now raising money for the air ambulance, 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 the charity, 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: