FIVE months ago Jack and Sophie Handyside were fighting for their lives after a head-on crash - but today both are well on the road to recovery.

The brother and sister have amazed medics by battling back from serious injuries they suffered in the smash near Staindrop, County Durham, on  September 29.

Ten-year-old Jack was discharged from hospital on Friday night and Sophie, eight, is settling back at school after returning home in October.

Loading article content

Mother Julie Elstob, a nurse, said: "It's amazing how far they have come on.

“I can't believe Sophie got out so quick and Jack is now following in her footsteps.

"He's doing stuff again that I never believed he would.

"Over Christmas and New Year it was the first nights we had him home and I can't believe he's now been discharged.

"I remember seeing some other children walking out of the hospital and I never thought it was ever going to be them.

"I'm just so happy they're both home and on the mend."

On the day of the crash the family’s silver Rover was involved in a collision with a black Vauxhall Corsa.

Father, Darren Handyside, suffered abdominal injuries and was treated at James Cook Hospital, in Middlesbrough, while the Corsa driver, a 78-year-old woman from the Sunderland area, was taken to Darlington Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.

The children’s head injuries were described as critical and they were airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, where they lay side by side on life support machines in the intensive care unit.

Sophie had suffered a fractured skull and broken wrist.

Jack had a bleed on the brain, which was severely swollen, and required surgery to remove two large parts of his skull.

His parents were warned he may never walk again but he has defied the odds by starting to walk unaided and hopes to return to playing sports including rugby and football.

The family, from the Teesdale village of Butterknowle, have thanked emergency crews and members of the public who attended the scene and have supported them since.

They plan to raise funds for the Great North Air Ambulance which sent two helicopters to the scene, each with a doctor on board, which meant the children could be anaesthetised at the roadside.