EXCLUSIVE: Sheffield dad’s ‘miracle’ recovery after four months in coma following horror crash

Michael Horne, aged 54, who spent several months in a coma follwing a crash while on holiday in Turkey, is pictured with daughter Michelle Sanderson and son Scott Horne at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital.
Michael Horne, aged 54, who spent several months in a coma follwing a crash while on holiday in Turkey, is pictured with daughter Michelle Sanderson and son Scott Horne at Sheffield's Northern General Hospital.
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A dad from Sheffield left fighting for his life following a horror crash on holiday in which two people died has made a ‘miracle’ recovery after waking from a four-month coma.

Michael Horne, aged 54, was on a jeep safari in Turkey when his vehicle crashed into a telegraph pole.

His partner Valerie Olton, 53, and friend Alison Conroy both suffered fatal injuries in the smash, while Michael fell into a coma and was later flown back to the UK to be treated at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital for severe brain injuries. The dad-of-six’s family feared the worst, and held a vigil by his bedside as they prayed for a sign he would pull through against the odds.

Their hopes were answered when Michael squeezed his daughter Michelle Sanderson’s hand and started talking again about his beloved Sheffield Wednesday.

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Now he has recovered enough to be moved to a rehab ward at the Northern General, where he is starting the journey back to health.

Michelle, 31, from Wadsley Bridge, said: “We’re over the moon, cherishing every moment, from every time he says our names or gives us a kiss to when he waves goodbye. We get tears in our eyes because we’re so grateful. For us it’s a miracle.”

She said her dad was ‘never alone’ in hospital. “There has always been someone there playing music, talking to him, or reading to him.

“For a couple of months we didn’t see any improvement, but we always hoped we would get that phone call saying he had woken up.

“Then he started nodding his head and squeezing my hand, then he was able to start speaking, and his recognition came back.

“One of the main things he’s so interested in talking about is Sheffield Wednesday - he’s having problems with his memory but he hasn’t forgotten that!”

But she added: “It’s a case of taking things slowly, it will be a very long road for him.

“It will take years for him to get back to any sort of normality.”

Michael, who works in accountancy, lived in Firth Park and Parson Cross for more than 40 years, but was living in Hertfordshire at the time of his accident in June.

He and Valerie were on a two-week break in the resort of Hisaronu with Alison, 54, and Charles Belham, 57.

They were returning from a safari trip when their open-top jeep left the road.

Charles was left with less serious injuries while three Turkish nationals, including the driver, were also hurt.

Michelle said: “It was surreal. My dad was in a coma straight away after the impact and was given a 75 per cent chance of not making the journey back to England. It was touch and go.

“The doctors told us he had massive brain damage, and lots of bleeding and bruising to the brain.”

Specialists at the Northern General will now help Michael to recover his speech and movement.