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MY LIFE SAVERS; EXCLUSIVE Top Gear Richard throws party for his rescue team.


THESE are the people who played a vital role in saving Richard Hammond's life after his 288mph jet car crash.

And the Top Gear star threw them a pounds 20,000 party in London to say thank you.

Mirror columnist Richard bussed over 100 doctors, nurses, psychiatrists and paramedics from Leeds and Bristol to the Hamster's Ball and laid on champagne.

Richard, 37, said: "It wasn't a showbizzy bash - just a chance to say thank you for keeping me alive.

"I hadn't met many of the people before, because I was either in a coma or very badly confused.

"But my wife Mindy remembered them all and told me what amazing work they did.

"I won't forget what they've done for me. I'm grateful that I can still be with my family and still do the job I love. But their job is rather more important than mine.

"I just wanted them to have some fun at a posh London do and say, thanks for giving me my life. And I'm sorry for putting you through hell.

"From what I have heard I was being pretty bloody irritating. It's slightly embarrassing because I keep meeting people who have seen me naked and barmy.

"Mindy had to wear waterproof makeup and she's the strongest, shortest woman I know. She was there throughout the whole process for me and she kept crying whenever she met people who looked after me.

"As soon as she walked in the door and met the first person from Leeds General she was off. Thank you to everyone - and especially Mindy."


Dr Rick Nelson, consultant neurosurgeon

Richard came to us in Bristol Glen Hospital from Leeds about a week after his accident. He was very confused and had problems with his memory.

The difficulty with Richard is it's hard to know what's normal and what is abnormal - as viewers of Top Gear will understand.

But we saw improvements quite quickly - every two to three days. He was doing really well.

I suspect he was trying very, very hard to appear normal. He was really making an effort to be on his best behaviour - in case I threatened to keep him in hospital.

The main thing was trying to slow him down. All I did was hover. I take no credit for his recovery at all."


Peter Vallance, Yorkshire Air Ambulance

AS we flew over the accident I thought, this looks bad.

People first on the scene, a BBC first aid crew, did their bit.

They had rescued him out of the wreckage and stabilised Richard.

By that stage we had an idea it was someone from Top Gear, but didn't know who. I didn't recognise Richard. With the closed head injury the head swells up quite a lot.

We put all our monitoring equipment on him and carried on speaking to him, reassuring him.

Richard wanted to take all the equipment off, he was like a rebellious child.

I've met Richard a few times since the accident. He always wants to thank me, and the team, 100 times. He's a top bloke.


Jim Jackson, Leeds General Infirmary

WEhad to put tubes into his neck and wrist so he must have looked quite scary.

Richard's wife Mindy looked terribly shocked and tearful. I think she decided she didn't like me at first because, once we started lightening Richard's sedation drugs, I had to test his responses by causing him pain.

I applied pressure just above his eye and Richard angrily put his hand up to push mine away, which was a good sign. But not in Mindy's eyes at the time. At one stage Richard woke up and tried to grab the oxygen tube out of his mouth. Mindy looked horrified, but I was delighted. It showed he was aware of a foreign object on his body and a positive sign.


1 Charlie Wobble, neuroscience theatre scheduler; 2 Natasha Barker, secretary; 3 Suzanne Dewhurst, reception team leader; 4 Sarah Wring-Nash, hotel services manager; 5 Onyx Brewin, ward sister; 6 Alan Sheppard, chief engineer; 7 Steve Cobb, chief pilot; 8 Al Sheward, A&E senior nurse; 9 Laura Smith, A&E ward sister; 10 Michelle Osborne, ward sister; 11 David Gardner, dispatcher; 12 Dr Rick Nelson, neurosurgeon; 13 Dominic Hewitt, A&E consultant; 14 Andrew Martin, reception manager; 15 Nicola Fenton, ward sister; 16 Richard Hammond; 17 Wife Mindy; 18 Peter Vallance, paramedic; 19 Shirley Wilson, acting A&E matron; 20 Elaine Andrews, neuroscience matron; 21 Andrew Bennett, charge nurse; 22 Jamie Noble, physio manager; 23 Linda Hargreaves, ward sister; 24 Jim Jackson, senior charge nurse; 25 Karen Wilcox-Collins, senior sister; 26 Simon Nor-Mally, charge nurse; 27 Louise Rymer, senior sister; 28 Julia McCarthy, marketing assistant.


GRATEFUL: Hammy and wife Mindy; TOP TEAM: Some of the people who saved Richard's life; HORROR: Richard's Top Gear accident; 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 24, 2007
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