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Billy Monger vows to race again

JHR Developments

Teenage British racing driver Billy Monger, who lost both legs following a horror crash last month, has vowed to get back behind the wheel.

Monger was racing in the Formula 4 championship at Donington Park when he was involved in a high-speed collision with a stationary car, and trapped for 90 minutes. Despite medics' best efforts, the teenager lost both of his lower legs and has spent nearly three weeks at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham.

His story has touched motor sport fans the world over who have raised £800,000 in his name, with former Formula 1 world champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button giving their backing to the teenager known as Billy Whizz.

Monger, who turned 18 on Friday, told the Press Association: "All the support just makes me more determined to get back in the car and get racing again. That's the goal."

The youngster's brave pledge prompted his mother, 51-year-old Amanda -- who was sitting at his hospital bedside -- to joke: "I'll need a tranquilliser."

Speaking from his bed surrounded by birthday cards, the determined young man said he had been left "lost for words" by the worldwide fund-raising appeal.

He also said it was "cool" to have seen seasoned F1 world champions Button and Hamilton take up his cause.

Monger said: "It was weird, seeing them giving their support because they're obviously people you want to, you aim to be like them, at the top of the sport. That was cool."

His mother revealed the hospital set up a projector to screen the Sochi grand prix in Russia, where F1 teams had shown their support emblazoning their cars with the fundraising hashtag #BillyWhizz.

The family are due to return home to Charlwood, Surrey, on Saturday after Billy's discharge from hospital and his first legal pint at a pub near the Queen's Medical Centre on Friday night.

Mother Amanda said: "They were awful circumstances, it's all your nightmares rolled into one and the hospital staff have helped us all through it.

"They saved Billy's life and helped us all get through it and that - with the crowdfunding thing - has helped us through the three weeks.

"It's incredible. He's just the same Billy he's always been. He's always had to fight...I don't think people have seen the last of Billy."

She added there were plans to see how they could help the air ambulance as a way of saying thank you for the service they provided.

Billy's father Rob, 49, said: "It was very hard at first, but to see him how he is now after three weeks is just amazing.

"Everyone at the hospital has been superb - if you had all the money in the world you couldn't pay for a better service than we have had here.

"I can't wait - he's always had the passion and no matter what happens it will always be there. If he wants to get back in the car, that's fine by me. I'm not sure about his mum, but there we go.

"He might miss the hospital a bit, being waited on, but it will be good to have him home."

Steven Hunter, the head of Billy's JHR team, said: "The first part was the most traumatic thing any of us have been through, full stop.

"With the help of everyone, he's come on in leaps and bounds. It's amazing to see the support he has had, not only in the hospital but also across the public, motorsport, mums and dads everywhere.

"Motorsport works with both your hands and your head as well as your feet. You can always get away with losing some part of that.

"He's a very determined young man with a goal, and, at the end of the day, that goal is still there to be achieved and I'm sure it will be."

Kirsty Measures, a staff nurse on the ward, said: "When Billy first came in he was quite unwell...he struggled to get to grips with what happened to him. But he has overcome it."

Consultant Tony Westbrook said: "There's no doubt he will be racing cars and he will be racing cars this year and we will be watching his future with interest.

"It brings a tear to your eye, really. You look at your own son who's that sort of age and you look at Billy and he's incredibly unlucky. This shouldn't have happened.

"But he's incredibly lucky as he has incredible backing and support behind him."