Yorkshire man pops the question in hospital after horror crash

Craig Mitchell and Claire Hoyle
Craig Mitchell and Claire Hoyle
Have your say

A YORKSHIRE man was almost killed in an horrific car crash whilst on the way to ask his girlfriend’s father for her hand in marriage.

Craig Mitchell, from Leeds, ended up popping the question to long-term girlfriend Claire Hoyle in intensive care – just hours after his car collided head-on with a lorry.

Craig's car was hit head-on by a lorry on the A160.

Craig's car was hit head-on by a lorry on the A160.

Despite suffering fractures to his legs and arm as well as a crushed bowel, the 30-year-old said he was determined to propose and feared he might not survive the incident.

Craig passed out as soon as Claire said ‘yes’ at his hospital bedside.

He said: “I didn’t know if I was going to make it so I thought I better propose and thankfully she said ‘yes’.

“I was smiling even though I was in so much pain.

“After she agreed, I thought I had done enough and blacked out.”

Craig, who works as a manager at Arla Foods, was on his way to Grimsby to ask his girlfriend’s father for her hand in marriage when he crashed head-on with a lorry on the A160.

Craig, from Pudsey, had to be cut free from the wreckage by the emergency services.

He was then airlifted to Hull Royal Infirmary by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Despite suffering serious injuries, Craig popped the question to girlfriend Claire Hoyle in intensive care hours after the collision that almost cost him his life.

He was in hospital for three weeks and had several operations, where he had part of his large and small bowel removed.

He also underwent skin graft surgery on his left knee and right arm.

Craig added: “I started a phased return to work six months after the accident and I am pretty much back to normal, although I’ll need more cosmetic surgery on my knee.”

Fiancé Claire, 29, was working from home when she got a phone call from her father to explain Craig had been in a serious accident.

She said: “I was in disbelief.

“Craig had got up and gone to work that morning as usual.

“I was totally unaware that he had gone over to my parents’ house and I was totally confused by it all.”

Recalling seeing him in hospital for the first time, she said: “He was surrounded by so many doctors and had tubes and drips all over him.

“The first thing he asked was, ‘Will you marry me?’

“I couldn’t really say no, could I!”

Claire added: “He has been really strong throughout it all and has not let it get him down.

“He’s been determined to get back to work and get on with his life.”

The couple have been together for five years and met whilst working together at Asda House in Leeds city centre.

They are now planning to tie the knot at East Riddlesden Hall in Bingley on September 5 – almost exactly a year after the crash.

Speaking about his dramatic rescue, Craig added: “The emergency services were just amazing.

“The fire crews cut me out and the paramedics treated me and then got me to hospital so quickly.

“I really can’t thank them enough.

“Without them I may not be here.

“You see the air ambulance flying overhead but you never dream that you will need it yourself and we’re just so grateful for what they do.”

Craig’s helicopter rescue was captured on camera and will now be featured in the BBC One series of Helicopter Heroes.

The programme featuring Craig will be aired on Friday, April 18, at 9.15am.