Leeds man almost killed in car smash on the way to ask parents’ permission to propose

Claire Hoyle, 29, and Craig Mitchell, 30, from Pudsey, Leeds.
Claire Hoyle, 29, and Craig Mitchell, 30, from Pudsey, Leeds.
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IT wasn’t quite the perfect proposal that Craig Mitchell had planned.

But the determined 30-year-old wasn’t going to let a car crash stand in the way of his romantic gesture.

The manager at Arla Foods was on his way to Grimsby to ask his girlfriend’s father for her hand in marriage when he crashed into a lorry on the A160.

Craig, from Pudsey, Leeds, had to be cut from the wreckage by the emergency services and was airlifted to Hull Royal Infirmary by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

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

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 was in hospital for three weeks, where he had part of his large and small bowel removed and underwent skin graft surgery on his knee and arm.

Claire, 29, said: “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, who have been together for five years, plan to tie the knot at East Riddlesden Hall in Bingley on September 5 – almost exactly a year after the crash.

Craig added: “The emergency services were just amazing. 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 dramatic rescue will be featured in the BBC One series of Helicopter Heroes on Friday, April 18, at 9.15am.

Tomas Pietrangeli, Managing Director, Arla Foods UK, Photo: Adrian Forrest

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