A Wellingborough biker whose life was saved by air ambulance paramedics has asked family and friends to donate to the medical service instead of buying him and his partner Christmas presents.
Stuart Best, an experienced motorcyclist, was seriously injured in May this year when he was thrown off his bike while riding around the track at the Rockingham Motor Speedway stadium.
He came down hard on his head and arms fracturing his skull and breaking his left collarbone, right hand and right foot.
He also suffered a brain haemorrhage and injuries to muscles and ligaments in his neck and shoulders.
"The injuries weren’t as bad as they could have been but were still nasty," said Stuart, of John Lea Way.
"I will always believe that if the Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance hadn’t attended my accident I might not be here today.
"Christmas is a time to reflect and to celebrate life and family.
"This year it is going to be one that is appreciated more than others as we think about how we felt at the time of the accident and reflect on the superb work the local air ambulance did to allow me to enjoy another festive celebration with the people close to me."
"This is a small thank you for the superb work the local air ambulance did for me and continue to do for people every day,” he added.
Stuart was trying out his new track motorbike before taking it to an event in Portugal. He had already completed a 20-minute session and was on the second lap of his second session when he experienced what bikers call a highside – similar to when a horse bucks its rider.
He hit the ground and was knocked unconscious, the session was stopped and track marshals rushed to Stuart’s aide.
The onsite ambulance was soon at the scene and transferred him to the stadium medical centre.
As Stuart was still unconscious and had a head injury, the air ambulance was called to transfer him to University Hospital Coventry where they have specialist facilities for patients with head injuries.
After 12 days he was discharged from hospital and it was two months before he returned to his job as a transmission planner for the mobile telecoms industry.
"I believe that if I had been transported by road to Coventry the outcome would not have been so positive," said Stuart.
"The journey would have taken at least an hour and time isn’t your friend in these situations."
Stuart and his partner Jane won’t receive any Christmas presents this year as, instead, they ask family and friends to make a donation to Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance.
“Christmas is the season of goodwill to all men and I would encourage people to make a donation or volunteer their time to the local air ambulance as it receives no Government funding and is a lifesaving service that anyone can need at any time in their life," said Stuart.