Air Ambulances UK

Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust: Chris’ Story

That Tuesday morning seemed routine until Anita’s phone rang – a call that no wife would ever want to hear.  

Her husband Chris Simpson (46), a self-employed car body restorer and repair specialist, was driving his mum’s car back from the MOT centre when he collided head-on with a lorry. With his mum’s car crumpled and his life hanging in the balance, he was entrapped within the wreckage, but astonishingly, as EHAAT’s critical care team arrived via our Helimed 07 helicopter based at Earls Colne, he was conscious and talking. 

Reflecting on the incident, Chris said: “I only have vague memories, but when I try to think back, I can’t help but think about what Anita would have been going through. Not just receiving the news, but being rushed into a police car while trying to process everything and inform the kids. I now know Anita went into auto mode and managed to get hold of family members (Chris’ brother-in-law John, his two sons Daniel and Joshua, and Joshua’s fiance Grace) to prepare them.” 

Pre-hospital Care Doctors, Dr Naomi Pritchard, Dr. Adam Czapran, and Critical Care Paramedic Ben Finbow, assessed Chris at the roadside and provided pain relief before making the decision to fly him to King’s College Hospital, where he could receive the specialised medical care he urgently needed.  

Chris suffered severe injuries, including extensive fractures in both legs and knees, as well as in his wrist and clavicle. He also had internal bleeding. As he began his recovery in the hospital, his surgeons stressed how fortunate he was to have survived and underlined the severity of his injuries. Throughout his recovery, Chris’ unwavering focus remained fixed on a single, heartfelt goal: walking down the aisle for his son’s wedding in October 2023. 

In the lead up, Chris was invited to tour our North Weald airbase by our patient and family liaison team. He proudly demonstrated his progress toward achieving that cherished milestone with the wedding right around the corner, and we’re pleased to report that even the ban on his beloved yellow Crocs couldn’t deter him!  

“Yellow is my favourite colour and my Crocs are the most comfortable shoes I’ve got. I live in them. Anita isn’t a fan, and while she was never going to let me wear them for the wedding, having that goal of walking down the aisle was so important to my recovery and the progress I’ve made so far. I wanted to be okay so people didn’t have to worry about me on the day – the focus rightly needed to be on Joshua and Grace on what was going to be the most amazing day of their lives.” 

We recently followed up with Chris to hear the amazing news that he ‘had a lovely day and managed to get by with just a walking stick’ though he did hide it out of shot from the photographer! 

“It’s incredible to be non-weight bearing after leaving the hospital and then having three months where I couldn’t move my left leg, to be able to walk down the aisle. I can’t thank the response of EHAAT, the emergency services and the team at King’s enough!” 

Though the crew members who first attended to Chris at the scene couldn’t be present during his visit, Critical Care Paramedic Ben Finbow joined via video call between his pre-hospital care responsibilities, which served as a touching reminder of the strong bond that often forms between patients, family members and the crew who worked tirelessly at the scene to deliver the best possible outcome.  

Reflecting on Chris’ story and his recovery so far, Ben said:  

“It was a special moment to reunite with Chris on the phone and witness the amazing progress he’s made. Connecting with him and his family was truly a joy. We deeply appreciate the meaningful impact we can have on people’s lives day in and day out, and it’s all made possible by the incredible support we receive from across Essex & Hertfordshire.” 


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