A MAN is fighting for his life after he was struck down by two potentially deadly food bugs.

Retired driving instructor Alan Ord spent a week on a life support machine and underwent an operation to remove most of his bowel when he caught salmonella.

The Gateshead Liberal Democrat councillor was then diagnosed with E.coli and his family were told to prepare for the worst. His body began to shut down and his kidneys stopped functioning.

His family and friends kept a vigil at Gateshead's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, but could only see him through a glass partition because he was kept in isolation.

The 59-year-old father-of-two, from Whickham, has now been taken off life support and switched to a general ward, but his condition remains serious after developing pneumonia and MRSA.

His 58-year-old wife, Marilynn, a fellow Lib-Dem councillor, said: "I kept thinking I would wake up and it had been a horrible dream.

"He has been in critical care for three weeks. He must be getting better, but surgeons say he is not out of the woods, which is not what we want to hear."

She added: "We nearly lost him - they wanted to give him the last rites and we were preparing for the worst.

"He was bleeding internally but they couldn't find out where. His body began to shut down and his kidneys failed."

The couple were both taken ill with sickness and diarrhoea after returning from a party group meeting last month.

What was originally diagnosed as food poisoning developed into a life or death battle for Mr Ord, which has left health bosses mystified.

Environmental health officers asked Mrs Ord to diary everything they had eaten since October 3, but that has failed to reveal what caused the outbreak.