NICK Copson is lucky to be alive.

On September 13 last year he was so badly hurt in a head-on crash on the A68 near Witton-le-Wear, he thought he would die there and then. He even made a goodbye video message for his wife, Nikki, and son, Connor, as he laid trapped in the wreckage of his car.

But emergency services saved him and, after 11 months of treatment in The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and a lengthy recovery still ahead, the 46-year-old chef feels upbeat about life.

“I did die that day but I've been reborn and learnt that life goes on. Everything that is thrown at you, just deal with it because there is another day and that other day is a blessing,” he said, speaking from his room at The Golden Jubilee regional spinal cord injuries centre at James Cook.

Mr Copson was driving from home in Woodland to work at the College of Policing at Harperley when he was hit. His back was broken, his torso crushed, left leg shattered, both lungs were punctured and he was bleeding heavily.

His wife, Nikki, 51, heard about the crash on the radio and when she called to see if he was okay a police officer answered his mobile phone and told her to wait for them to pick her up and take her to the hospital.

“Every day was a battle to save his life. On the first day they said there was a 40 per cent chance of surviving and I thought ‘well that’s a chance’. I couldn’t, wouldn’t accept the fact he might die, it was too scary, so I just kept saying it might not happen and that kept me going,” said Mrs Copson.

Mr Copson was put in an induced coma and six days after the accident he underwent a major operation on his spine, during which medics had to save him three times. He went on to have both legs amputated.

“It was literally life or limb, Connor and I knew he wasn’t going to walk again so we said he wasn’t going to need his legs anyway. We wanted him here, alive, and that is all that has mattered throughout,” she said.

When he eventually woke and was allowed to try to speak, after five weeks, he briefly opened his eyes, said: “Hi babe” to his wife and drifted back off.

Mrs Copson said: “Each and every day he is alive I’m just so pleased and feel so grateful to still have him. What the medics and the human body can do is remarkable.”

Further challenges followed including bouts of sepsis, multi organ failure, nine weeks of kidney dialysis, blood clots, a fungal blood infection which almost cost Mr Copson his sight and a bedsore the size of two fists.

After three months in intensive care he moved to a high dependency unit for patients with spinal injuries.

He said: “I thought then I’d start rehab, get a wheelchair and be home by Christmas 2019. I had no idea then it would be looking more like a couple of years before I was where I want to be.

“I don’t set goals because this is hospital and anything can happen, but I’d like sit up before a Sister leaves the ward in seven weeks and to go to a music festival next year.”

Next month the couple will mark their 20th wedding anniversary.

Last year, Mr Copson was in a coma so his wife spent the day by his bedside playing 'their song' High by Lighthouse Family on a loop.

“Music can be really powerful when someone is in a coma so I hoped he’d hear it and feel connected, the words now are so meaningful,” said Mrs Copson.

When Valentine’s Day came around, Mr Copson was determined to show his devoted wife how much he loves her and values her unwavering support. Having lost much of the use of his right hand, he learnt to write with his left hand so he could write her a card.

Mr Copson said: “Throughout the whole of this I’ve just been so grateful for being alive. I thought I had died in that car and though life will be different, hard, I still have a life and it is one we look forward to.”

The couple, who plan to move into a bungalow in Butterknowle next year, and their family, including Connor, 20, and Mr Copson’s stepsons Christopher and Stephen, want to thank supporters from a passer-by who comforted him at the scene to emergency crews, medics and friends.