26/10/06 – TV & showbiz section
Top Gear’s Hammond looks ‘fighting fit’ as he strolls with family
Strolling in the sunshine with his wife and daughter it is hard to believe that only five weeks ago Richard Hammond was fighting for his life.
The Top Gear star showed he was continuing to go from strength to strength as he went on his first family outing.
An onlooker said: “He looked amazing. He looked fighting fit and as if he was back to his old self again.”
Hammond, who almost died after a high-speed car crash, took a shopping trip close to his home in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire with his wife Mindy, 35, and one of his young daughters.
This week he revealed how he was left “utterly bonkers” by injuries from the accident, which happened as he was trying break the 300mph British land speed record.
The father of two said that the damage to his brain caused him “terrifying mental anguish.”
He told how he had “flatlined” in hospital as he hovered near death and has repeatedly burst into tears and suffered “private breakdowns” since the crash.
Hammond, 36, was left in a coma after the Vampire rocket car he was driving at 288mph suddenly careered off the track and flipped over several times at Elvington airfield, near York.
It is thought a tyre may have burst.
The television star was taken by air ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary where doctors battled to save his life.
However the day after the accident Hammond, who is nicknamed Hamster by his co-presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May, astonished friends and colleagues when he managed a smile.
And 30 hours after the accident he took his first faltering steps.
Hammond has attributed his speedy recovery to the brain-healing powers of Lego.
“The doctor was amazed at how good I am at it. It’s really good therapy for a brain injury. Brilliant for spacial awareness,” he said in an interview with the Daily Mirror.
That’s good news. According to Jeremy Clarkson, they expect the new series of Top Gear to be on air around early to mid-January of 2007 assuming that Richard Hammond will be fully recovered by then after making the most of this situation. I really do look forward to the new series as Fifth Gear’s new format is extremely disappointing and alienating me from the original Fifth Gear I followed during the college days. They really need to get back on air soon before anymore show footage is leaked on the internet, now that I know the new Caterham has knocked out the CCX out of the top spot in the power board rankings.