SIX lorries and a banner rolled up at Whiston Hospital last Thursday to thank NHS staff for saving the life of a coronavirus patient, whose family were told he may not make it.

Granddad-of-one Billy Mitchell was in hospital for five weeks as he battled COVID-19, with symptoms so severe his relatives were told to say goodbye.

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However, thanks to the incredible staff – and his determination – he pulled through.

Now, weeks after his wife, four sons and grandson feared they might lose him, he is back home in Whiston recovering.

To thank the staff who saved his life, his colleagues at Avanti in Kirkby, along with other HGVs driven by friends and family, turned up at the hospital for Clap for Our Carers.

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Alongside them was Billy, 53, the entire family and a banner.

His sister Jackie Horan, who lives in Newton-le-Willows, said: “It has been horrific. We’ve had five weeks of thinking he was going to go.

“We’ve all not been able to sleep for the worry and thinking we’d be without him because he is a huge part of our lives.

“He has a little grandson Jack, so even though we were told to go in and say our goodbyes we didn’t and instead kept saying, ‘you have to beat this for Harry, he needs his granddad’ and also reminding him that his son Danny is getting married soon and he needed to be around for that.

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“Our mum June is 81, so it’s been so sad for her because of course but just before her birthday he got to come home, which she said is the best birthday present she has ever had.

“So once we knew he was over the worst of it and recovering at home we decided to do something to thank the staff, they didn’t give up on him and are the reason he’s still here.

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“We had a banner made and his four sons held it up, and our family and friends drove HGVs in front and did their horns and that, its just our way of saying thank you.

“Even little Jack was there clapping for granddad Bill.

“Whiston Hospital is absolutely fantastic, they’ve had so many poorly people in with this virus, the odds may have looked bad for them, but they keep fighting and are absolutely wonderful.

“This really has proven more so how incredible they really are.”