It was an emotional meeting.

But the accident victim who cheated death in an horrific crash in Lepton had no doubts: “He saved my life”.

Alison Craven insist she survived the crash between her car and a lorry only because Lepton man Garry Birley rushed to her aid.

Mr Birley held her and kept her conscious until emergency crews arrived at the scene.

Crash victim Alison Craven, who launched an Examiner appeal to find the man who helped to save her
Crash victim Alison Craven, who launched an Examiner appeal to find the man who helped to save her

Mrs Craven, who was 34 at the time, spent days in hospital and had to undergo emergency plastic surgery.

Now she has finally come face to face with the Good Samaritan who saved her.

Eighteen years after the crash she appealed through the Examiner to find the man who helped her and was put in touch with Mr Birley, 68, who still lives in Lepton.

The pair spoke on the phone but this week they were reunited in Huddersfield when Mrs Craven was able to properly thank him.

So happy to meet up - crash victim Alison Craven and Good Samaritan Garry Birley

Mrs Craven, who now lives in Dundee, Scotland, with her husband and three children, was the driver of a car which ploughed into the side of a milk tanker as it pulled in front of her in Wakefield Road, Lepton, in November 1997.

A mystery man rushed to her aid and kept talking to her to stop her slipping unconscious before ambulance crews arrived.

She said: “I was in Yorkshire this week and met Garry after all these years.

“My mum Audrey Booth came along to thank him too. It was absolutely wonderful and he was the most lovely man i could ever imagine.

“I felt like I’d been friends for years.

“My mum kindly took photos with my phone and I think she captured the moment really well.”

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Mr Birley, who ran the former Princess Restaurant and later The Lodge Hotel in Huddersfield with his brother Kevin, said: “I saw the crash and did what anyone else would have done.

“I got into the car, kept talking to her and reassuring her everything would be okay.

“I ripped the mirror off the windscreen because I didn’t want her to see how badly her face was injured.

“It was lovely to catch up with her after all these years.”