A father-of-four who is lucky to be alive after being crushed in a major motorway pile up has spoken of his miraculous recovery one year on from the crash.
Brave Frank Clayton was left on a life support machine with his family fearing the worst, after his car was crushed beyond recognition when an overloaded car transporter smashed into the back of a static line of traffic on the M6 at Orrell.
Frank, now 63, was left with a catalogue of life threatening injuries but amazingly he has battled through and is now on the long road to recovery.
His injuries included breaking every bone in his face, severing his tongue, breaking his neck in two places, smashing his hip, damaging his right leg plus a whole host of internal injuries.
The Calogen Foam worker, of Broad Oak Road, Accrington is still unable to return to work almost a year after the April, 8, crash but remains positive and thankful he is still here to tell the tale.
Frank said: "I have no memory of the crash itself. I remember the motorway going from three lanes to one and having to slow down but then nothing.
"I was in hospital for around 14 weeks, with five of those weeks in intensive care. My family and all the people who have helped me from the paramedics to the doctors and nurses have been fantastic. I wouldn't be here without their help.
"It has been a tough year, but I would like to think I'm a fighter.
Initially my family were told to expect the worse or to expected I would be brain damaged but thankfully I'm not. I've still got a long way to go before I'm well and I'll never be the same as I was before but at least I'm still alive."
Over the past year Frank has had full facial reconstruction and now has false cheek bones and plates holding his jaw together.
He has had his tongue sewn back on and undergone numerous emergency operations on his internal injuries.
However he still suffers walking and has lost feeling and suffered nerve damage in his right leg.
He is due to have an operation on his back and a hip replacement in coming months.
The crash happened at 11.30pm when Frank, a football official for North West Counties Football League was on his way home from an association meeting.
The motorway speed had been reduced to a 40mph limit and a single lane, north bound between Junction 26 and 27 of the M6, because of road works.
Frank was driving his BMW 5 series and was forced to stop behind another lorry because of a build up of traffic.
Behind him in the queue was a caravanette, towing a small car.
It was later discovered a seven year-old boy was sleeping in the caravanette when the transporter carrying 10 cars and vans hit the queue of stationary traffic at more than 50mph.
Liverpool Crown Court heard the driver failed to spot matrix signs warning of stationary traffic because an extra van he was carrying was overhanging his cab and obscuring his view.
The caravanette was pushed over the top of Franks BMW, which was shunted into the vehicles in front.
Franks car was so badly mangled it could not be identified at the scene as his number plates had been removed during the collision.
It was only because he was carrying ID his family were able to be notified.
Frank was one of many seriously injured in the crash and cut from the wreckage by firefighters.
The driver of the car transporter Kevin Woods, 63, of Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim was driving north along the M6 to catch a ferry back to Southern Ireland when the crash occurred.
There were 10 cars and vans on the transporter but there should only have been nine.
Liverpool Crown Court heard he had also altered his tachograph so he could keep on driving.
Judge William George sentenced Woods to 12 months in prison, and banned him from driving for five year as well as ordering him to take an extended retest after he was found guilty of dangerous driving.
He was also sentenced to the three months in prison to run concurrent to his first sentence for falsifying his tachograph.
Woods had written a letter of apology to his victims.
Frank who has been supported by his wife Agnes and four children twins Avril and Jonathan and Susan and Heather said he could not have got through this year without all of their help, he said: "My family have been amazing, visiting me everyday when I was in hospital in Manchester.
I also got more than 100 get well cards from friends old and new and they really did help me get through this awful time and for that I am very thankful.
"I think the severity of Woods' punishment reflects the seriousness of his crime. I think this punishment is worthy of his crime and nobody will gain anything from me saying otherwise."
Frank is now looking to the future and hopes to driving again after he has had two further operations.
He said: "With the permanent damage to my right leg I have to drive in a specially altered car that has a left foot accelerator. I have tried and it will take a lot of getting used to but I'm sure I'll do it.
"I won't have to retake my test but I will have to have driving lesson and be given the go ahead from an instructor."