Survivor of fatal accident praises the ‘angels’ who saved her life

Tony Horton
Tony Horton

A BATTLE lady, who was seriously injured in a car accident in which her husband died, has praised the ‘angels’ who saved her life.

Angie Horton, her husband Tony and a friend had just enjoyed a pub lunch and were driving home along the A268 in Peasmarsh when the car they were travelling in was struck by another car.

The impact was such that it caused their car to spin around three times, colliding with a van before coming to a rest.

Tony, who was travelling in the rear of the car, died instantly, despite the best effort of paramedics who tried to resuscitate him.

Angie sustained multiple injuries in the crash and was airlifted to Kings College Hospital in London.

She ‘died’ three times and had to be resuscitated each time.

She arrived at the Victoria and Albert Trauma Unit unconscious and unable to move.

Angie had sustained multiple fractures to all her ribs, her pelvis, and had neck and head injuries, together with a collapsed lung.

When she first came out of the coma, Angie could only move her eyelids and was thought to have brain injuries.

Her ability to walk again was in doubt.

Angie spent two-and-a-half weeks in hospital following the accident on March 27, during which time she experienced first hand the unfaltering level of care and dedication from the staff at Kings College Hospital. 

She said: “I used to call them the angel brigade.

“From the cleaners to the neurosurgeons, everyone was top of their range in their expertise.

“If somebody wanted something, there were two people there always willing to help.”

And Angie credits trauma nurse Craig Matthews, who broke the sad news that her beloved husband had died, for helping her home to Battle earlier than expected.

She said: “I believe it was because of him I was out of hospital so fast.”

Angie should have spent at least six to eight weeks in hospital, but was released early on the proviso that she had 24 hour care at home.

Angie is full of praise for nurses Mairead Moore, who was nominated for the Nurse of the Year Award, Grainne Connoly and Vanessa Tomson, along with physiotherapist Tressa Bintoh, who helped her to walk again.

But it is not just the medical staff who Angie has high praise for.

She said: “I remember this amazing cleaner called Emanuelle.

“I had never seen him before and he looked at me and said ‘I prayed for you last night’.”

Angie added: “I had nurses coming in and praying over me. 

“When they discharged me on that last day, the three surgeons cuddled me.

“It was amazing.

“A very humbling experience.”

When Angie’s health improves she plans to write to the Queen to tell her about her experience.

She said: “I’m going to write to the Queen when I get a bit stronger.

“She needs to know she has an elite band of workers there at the Victoria and Albert Ward, parallel to the Ghurka and para regiments.”

Angie thanked her friends for helping her since the accident, including Stuart Campbell, who Angie said was ‘amazing’ during her time in hospital, John Jenner, John Cammell, Richard Danks, Sara Letchumanan, Richard White, Marian Hughes, Pauline Oakley, Sharon Sellens and Muna Smallman.

Angie and Tony had been happily married for 33-and-a-half years and Angie paid tribute her late husband, who she described as ‘a real gentleman in every way’.

She said: “Tony was an amazingly wise man and I loved him so.

“He was exceedingly clever and intelligent.

“My heart aches from missing him.

“We used to say how lucky we were to have found each other and been in love with each other all our married life and that finding true love was the most precious gift we had been given.”

The couple lived in Guestling for a number of years before moving to Battle in July 2010.

But Angie was already a familiar face to many as she had worked as a complimentary medicine practitioner in the town for 25 years, first in the High Street, then in Shirlea View.

Tony, 63, worked as a lecturer for many years, going the extra mile to help his students pass their exams, and enjoyed sharing his knowledge with friends.

Angie said: “He was a very wise man and used to say that if there was a problem, talk it through with the other person and see their point of view and then the problem would be seen by both sides and in true friendship there would be no problem.”

Angie added: “I feel as if the other half of me is missing and I am totally bewildered and lost without Tony by my side.

“It was so tragic to have lost such a beautiful husband.

“The enormity of my injuries has made life so difficult.

“I can’t believe you can be in this much pain and still be alive.”

Tony was laid to rest in May, in an emotional ceremony at Hastings Crematorium.

Because Tony did not like black, Angie requested that no black be worn at her husband’s funeral.

Even the pallbearers from funeral director’s DC Mercer and Son, based in St Leonards, ditched the traditional black suits in favour of multicoloured jackets, brightly patterned ties and trainers.

Instead of flowers, generous well-wishers donated £1,025 to the Sussex Air Ambulance at Angie’s request. 

She said: “I do not think people understand how amazing the air ambulance is and they are not funded.

“I would not have survived if that had not all happened.

“You never know when you would need it yourself.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the Sussex Air Ambulance should visit www.sussexairambulance.co.uk