A GRANDFATHER from Abergavenny has said he owes his life to the Wales Air Ambulance Service after he was knocked off his bike by a drunk driver on Christmas Eve.

Three years ago, Simon Edmonds was lying in a hospital bed over Christmas recovering from a brain injury following a hit-and-run.

The grandfather-of-two was unable to have any visitors due to the Covid-19 pandemic and his only contact was via video call to his family on Christmas Day.

Simon had gone out for his daily bike ride at lunchtime on Christmas Eve in 2020 and was only a few miles away from his Abergavenny home when he was hit from behind and thrown onto the bonnet of the car before hitting his head on the ground.

The driver of the car fled the scene and luckily for Simon there was an off-duty doctor in the queuing traffic behind who came to his aid. The driver was later found by police and prosecuted. 

Wales Air Ambulance paramedics attended, draining his chest at the roadside and reflating his lung before transporting him to hospital. 

Simon had broken most of the ribs on his left side and collarbone. On top of that, he had a collapsed lung, several pelvic fractures, a ruptured spleen, torn nerve fibres in the brain and a surface brain bleed.

He recalled: “I was conscious throughout including at the roadside, but I suffered post-traumatic amnesia in which I still do not remember anything that happened from about 20 minutes before my accident to three days later.

“My wife and daughter video-called me on Christmas Day but despite being able to communicate I have no memory of it. I don’t remember anything about Christmas 2020 at all.”

Since the accident, he has retraced his steps on his bike, as damage to his spine and nerve damage in his legs means walking is still difficult.

With no memory of the accident, he had no problems getting back on the bike.

Simon spent five weeks in hospital which included his 61st birthday.

His wife was on her own while he was in hospital over Christmas, with their children living far away.

He said: “When my memory returned three days later, I looked at my phone and saw a message from her from Christmas Eve saying, ‘where are you, are you okay?’ and I replied, ‘No I am in hospital in Cardiff, have you got my bicycle?’ I had already spoken to her, but I didn’t have any recollection of it.

“I can only imagine how traumatic it would have been for my family. I also tested positive for Covid-19 and at that point my wife was convinced she would never see me again.”

Simon is hoping to have a relatively quiet Christmas this year before his daughter Emily and his grandchildren travel home to Wales to visit in the New Year. 

He added: “Since my accident I am a lot more appreciative of my life and what I do have. I am so grateful for the Wales Air Ambulance.

“It is a phenomenal service and if it hadn't been for the Wales Air Ambulance, I wouldn’t be here today.”