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4.2.11

A persistent romantic will marry his teenage finance after phoning her for four months when he was stood up on their first date - unaware she was in a coma.

Lauren Prior, 19, was thrown through a car windscreen in an horrific accident the night before the date but nobody had informed Daryl Tricker.

He repeatedly dialled her mobile phone number despite thinking he had been intentionally snubbed.

His determination finally paid off when Lauren's mother, Jane Prior, 47, answered the phone four months later while at her daughter's hospital bedside.

She explained to heartbroken Daryl, 24, that a car Lauren was travelling in had flipped over on a roundabout and she had been admitted to a specialist neurological unit.

Lauren fractured her skull in three places and suffered facial fractures, a fractured jaw, a severed ear and a badly fractured left arm and wrist. She was in a coma for two months.

After surviving seven operations - which included part of her skull being removed to allow her brain to heal - Lauren was allowed home to celebrate her 18th birthday.

Daryl asked her out again and they eventually went on their date.

Now, 18 months later, the couple, from Horndean, Hampshire, have moved in together and decided to get married.

Lauren, who is now blind in one eye and still needs more operations, said meeting Daryl had changed her life.

She said: 'When Daryl asked me out the second time, he saw me in a really bad way.

'He did not see me in hospital and in some ways I am glad he did not 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.

'He was only 22 and for a 22-year-old bloke to be that genuine, I have never met anyone like that.

'It feels like we have been together forever but it also still feels like it was yesterday.'

Daryl popped the big question on Christmas Day, when he hid the ring in one of Lauren's presents.

Lauren said: 'The proposal was lovely and we are so happy together.

'We were opening our presents and the ring was there inside a jumper. 'I smiled, said "yes" and gave him a big kiss.

'It was not too cheesy because we are not cheesy people.'

Daryl said he could not be happier and he expects they will set a wedding date for some time next year.

They had met five days before their intended first date.

Lauren said the crash had given her a new, and more mature, perspective on life.

She said: '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.

'I class the accident as a change in my life. It was an horrific experience and I would not want anyone to go through it.

'It was not only painful and distressing on my body, but emotional. There were loads of times I just wanted to give up and I just thought, "I have got to stick with it".

'It has made me appreciate people and life much more.

'Before the accident I was a teenager going out having fun with my friends.

'I have now matured and grown up so quickly. Having Daryl is a new part of my life.'

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