A WAR veteran who was warned he would never walk again has defied all the odds.
Courageous Edmund Whittaker, 82, of Wood-field Avenue, Accrington, was told his chances of walking after an accident were practically non-existent. But his recovery has left everyone amazed.
His wife, Margaret, says it is down to his incredible courage and determination.
She said: "People had given up on him and there was nothing we could do. If this isn't a miracle, I don't know what is. Even people who don't believe think it's a miracle."
In July 2002, Mr Whittaker, a former counter clerk at Accrington Post Office for 33 years, was boarding a coach when he fell backwards and cra-shed his head against the pavement.
He broke a bone at the top of his spine and was in hospital for six months.
Already registered as disabled with chronic spinal inflammation after being injured in Egypt with the RAF in 1943, Mr Whittaker made little progress while in hospital.
As a result his wife and daughter Sue Masters, 51, took him home and began caring for him themselves last December.
And, after extensive physiotherapy Mr Whittaker began to take his first steps.
After progressing slowly he and his wife have returned from a holiday in the Lakes and he goes to church every Sunday.
The couple, devoted members of Clayton-le-Moors Baptist Church, are sure their friends' prayers helped Mr Whittaker's recovery.
Mrs Whittaker said: "Who knows the effect of a very strong faith and prayers from people all over the world. But Edmund is so brave and has such a good sense of humour."
Celebrating his birthday this week, Mr Whittaker said it wouldn't have been possible without the love of his family.
He said: "We have had a lot of support from friends and my two professional carers have been wonderful. But Margaret and Susan have been fantastic."
His daughter, a supply teacher, said: "I did have a dream dad was walking again and I have clung to that. Mum has been absol-utely amazing. She has been here all the time and been absolutely wonderful."