A couple have praised the life-saving service of the Great North Air Ambulance service, after being airlifted following a head-on collision.

Terry and Margaret Haram, both 71, from South Shields, had just left Center Parcs and were travelling on the A66 near Temple Sowerby when they collided with a van on 24 October 2016.

Mrs Haram said: “A van on the other side of the road was overtaking. I saw the van lift up and then it was on top of us. I don’t know how long it was before I jumped out of the car and I shouted for people to help us.”

A passer-by called the emergency services and both North West Ambulance Service and the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) arrived on scene, alongside police and firefighters.

Mrs Haram said: “I was first in the land ambulance not really knowing what was happening and I didn’t know that the air ambulance was coming. The next thing I knew GNAAS had taken over and I was given pain relief and then I remember Dr Theo Weston treating Terry.”

While the team were trying to get Mr Haram out of the car, Mrs Haram was airlifted to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough for further treatment.

She said: “I had major lacerations to my leg and tummy because the seatbelt had cut in. I was in pain in my chest, but I didn’t know what was wrong at the time. I ended up with fractured ribs and a fractured sternum.”

Mrs Haram was discharged from hospital after two days and her injuries healed within six weeks.

However Mr Haram sustained serious nerve damage, two breaks in his femur, his tibia was smashed, one of his feet had an open fracture, he fractured several ribs, and his elbow had been sheared off so he lost his funny bone.

He said: “It wasn’t that funny, I can tell you that.”

At the time, Mrs Haram was told by hospital staff that they didn’t expect her husband to pull through.

In the end, Mr Haram spent a total of 100 days in hospital both at James Cook and the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle.

The crash left Mr Haram with life-changing injuries. He has limited use of his right hand and arm and now walks with a stick.

“We now live for our family, especially our four grandchildren,” said Mrs Haram.

The couple have since written to the GNAAS team to thank them for their role in Mr Haram’s survival.

Mrs Haram added: “He wouldn’t be here without GNAAS, they are a fantastic service.”

GNAAS is continuing to fly through the Covid-19 crisis but has asked the public to continue its support in the face of the collapse of its community fundraising activities.

To donate visit www.gnaas.com or call 01325 487263.