‘He couldn’t remember our wedding day but he knew he loved me’

Amy and Jim Hardwick with their daughters SUS-160713-111405001
Amy and Jim Hardwick with their daughters SUS-160713-111405001

A young mum has re-lived the heartbreak she faced when her husband was critically injured in a bike crash.

Amy Hardwick was heavily pregnant and about to give birth when her husband Jim left home for a routine cycle ride - and never returned.

“I kept ringing his mobile but there was no answer. I was really worried. I just knew something was wrong,” said Amy, of Oakhill, Horsham.

Jim, 35, had been badly injured after coming off his bicycle at Rudgwick and was airlifted to King’s Hospital, London, with a broken back, broken ribs, smashed face and brain injury.

“I was told he might not survive,” said Amy, “and I prepared myself for the worst.

“When I first saw him in hospital, God it was awful. I couldn’t look at the right side of his face.”

Jim was in a coma unable to move and was in intensive care for two weeks - during which time Amy gave birth to her daughter Mabel ... without Jim at her side.

Her parents moved in for two months to help look after her other daughter Primrose, three, while she travelled backwards and forwards to see Jim. “I don’t know how I got through it,” said Amy.

“At the time we didn’t know if Jim would survive, or if he would have brain damage. But Jim is one of those miracles. He came back.”

But as Jim slowly recovered, he could remember nothing of the accident, or the fact that Amy had been pregnant.

“He couldn’t remember our wedding day but he knew he loved me and that was all I wanted, him telling me that he loved me. That was amazing, the fact of him knowing me.”

But when Jim was finally sent home, it all slowly came back. “After about four weeks everything started to click,” said Amy.

Now, amazingly, Jim - who has always been a keen cyclist, has entered a number of events and represented Great Britain - is back working at his job for on-line benefits company Thomsons but still suffers from pain, a loss of peripheral vision, some short term memory problems and suffers extreme fatigue.

“But he’s amazing,” said Amy. “He’s so incredibly positive.”

Last week - a year to the day since the horrific accident - Jim and Amy said a special thank-you to the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance service who saved Jim’s life by organising a special fundraising event at the Salvation Army Hall in Horsham at which they raised nearly £5,600, with another £1,500 having already been raised on-line.

“If it wasn’t for the air ambulance he might not be in this position now. They got him to King’s at speed. They saved his life. It is just amazing.

“The first few hours were critical and without the air ambulance we might not have Jim around now.”