A COURAGEOUS teenager who nearly died in a car accident has spoken of her joy after getting engaged to her sweetheart.
Two years ago Lauren Prior and Daryl Tricker were all set to go on their first date, five days after setting eyes on each other.
But the night before the date, Lauren was thrown out of a car in an horrific accident on an Emsworth roundabout, ending up in coma.
For two months, as Lauren lay in hospital, Daryl believed he had been given the cold shoulder and they would never meet again.
But, hoping that she might change her mind, he continued to try to contact the former Havant College student.
Lauren’s mum Jane Prior, from Waterlooville, finally answered Lauren’s mobile phone in hospital four months later and the tragedy was explained to him.
After surviving seven long operations, which included part of her skull being removed to allow her brain to heal, Daryl asked Lauren out when she returned home from hospital to celebrate her 18th birthday.
Now, 18 months on, their love has blossomed and the pair have decided to tie the knot.
Daryl, 24, popped the question by hiding the engagement ring in a gift.
Lauren, 19, who lives with Daryl at their home in Horndean, said: ‘It was lovely.
‘I just smiled and said yes and gave him a big kiss.’
Lauren cannot see in one eye after the accident and faces more operations for her injuries, including reconstructing her jaw.
She said meeting Daryl had changed her life.
Lauren said: ‘I was supposed to see him the day after the crash. We had arranged to meet up.
‘He could not get through to me and thought I had given him the cold shoulder. He kept calling and wondering why I wasn’t answering the phone. I think it was in the April time and I had my phone on during rehabilitation. I asked my mum to answer the phone.
‘She told him what happened. He then came to my 18th birthday party and asked me out that day.
‘When he asked me out, he saw me in a really bad way.
‘He did not see me in hospital and in some ways I am glad he didn’t, but he still saw me at a low point.
‘I was wearing a wig and you could see I had bad injuries.
‘But he knew me for me.
‘It was amazing and one of the reasons why I am happy to be with him.’
The couple hope to set a wedding date for some time next year after Lauren’s operations.
Lauren said the crash had given her a more mature perspective on life, adding: ‘I don’t feel 19 at all.
‘I am really looking forward to getting on with things and getting my operations out of the way.’
Romance will help raise money for hospital unit
AS ROMANCE is in the air, Lauren plans to raise thousands of pounds this Valentine’s Day for the doctors who saved her life.
Lauren and her family will be holding a Valentine raffle at The George Inn, in Portsdown Hill Road, Widley, at 10pm on Sunday, February 13.
There will also be an auction for Lauren’s favourite childhood teddy bear, which she is giving up to raise money for the Wessex Neurological Centre, part of Southampton General Hospital.
Lauren was in a car with friends when it flipped over on the A259 at Emsworth in January 2009.
Doctors saved her life by removing part of her skull so that her brain could swell and eventually heal.
Lauren said: ‘The more money the better. I just want to keep on raising money. There’s always people going into the unit and they are always going to need help.
‘They saved my life and without them I would not be here. The least I can do is help them a little bit.’
Mum Jane Prior, 47, added: ‘She realises that without their help and intervention she would not be here to tell the story.’
Anyone wishing to buy a raffle ticket can ask at the pub.