A teenage British racing driver who lost both legs following a horror crash has vowed to get back behind the wheel.
Billy Monger was racing in the Formula 4 championship at Donington Park last month when he was involved in a high-speed collision with a stationary car, and was trapped for 90 minutes. Despite medics' best efforts, the teenager lost both of his lower legs and has spent nearly three weeks at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham.
His story has touched motor sport fans the world over who have raised £800,000 in his name with former Formula 1 world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button giving their backing to the teenager known as Billy Whizz. The hospital had allso set up a projector to screen the Sochi grand prix in Russia, where F1 teams had shown their support emblazoning their cars with the fundraising hashtag #BillyWhizz.
Mr Monger, who turned 18 yesterday said he had been lost for words by the fund-raising appeal which received support from around the world: "All the support just makes me more determined to get back in the car and get racing again. That's the goal. It was weird, seeing them (Hamilton and Button) giving their support because they're obviously people you want to, you aim to be like them, at the top of the sport. That was cool."
However, the teenager's brave pledge prompted his mother, 51-year-old Amanda - who was sitting at his hospital bedside - to joke: "I'll need a tranquilliser."
He has already chosen the paint job for his new wheelchair - ocean blue metallic - and said he's missed the family Tibetan terrier Nellie, but joked he hasn't missed his mum's cooking
The family are due to return home to Charlwood, Surrey, today after Billy's discharge from hospital and his first legal pint at a pub near the Queen's Medical Centre last night.
Mrs Monger said: "They were awful circumstances, it's all your nightmares rolled into one and the hospital staff have helped us all through it. They saved Billy's life and helped us all get through it and that - with the crowdfunding thing - has helped us through the three weeks. It's incredible. He's just the same Billy he's always been. He's always had to fight... I don't think people have seen the last of Billy."
She added there were plans to see how they could help the air ambulance as a way of saying thank you for the service they provided.
Billy's dad Rob, 49, added: "It was very hard at first, but to see him how he is now after three weeks is just amazing. Everyone at the hospital has been superb - if you had all the money in the world you couldn't pay for a better service than we have had here. I can't wait - he's always had the passion and no matter what happens it will always be there. If he wants to get back in the car, that's fine by me. I'm not sure about his mum, but there we go. He might miss the hospital a bit, being waited on, but it will be good to have him home."
Billy's sister Bonnie, 16, was among those at the scene of the accident and spoke to him to keep him calm while he was tended to by paramedics.
She said her older brother has "just been himself" and that Billy has been taking the mick out of himself, so she's joined in to keep him in check.
She added: "The first week was hard when he was in intensive care, but as soon as he woke up he was in just such good spirits and that's lifted up everyone around him. Even just after it happened, he had such a positive attitude towards it. It wasn't like it was a burden, it was 'let's start again, let's make it work'."
Kirsty Measures, a staff nurse on the ward, said: "When Billy first came in he was quite unwell... he struggled to get to grips with what happened to him.
"But he has overcome it. Every day he has had a smile on his face, he's just accepted the situation and even during the hardest times he's still managed to have a laugh and joke about it. He has never really said no to anything, he's just got on and accepted it."
Consultant Tony Westbrook said: "There's no doubt he will be racing cars and he will be racing cars this year and we will be watching his future with interest.
"It brings a tear to your eye, really. You look at your own son who's that sort of age and you look at Billy and he's incredibly unlucky. This shouldn't have happened.
"But he's incredibly lucky as he has incredible backing and support behind him."