Mindy Hammond says she knew nothing about her husband Richard’s emotional video
Earlier this week, Richard recalled a vivid dream he had in a coma after the near-fatal accident in 2006 and said Mindy’s loud screams pulled him back.
Richard, 52, made the emotional video while walking in the Lake District. He told how in his dream he was walking among the hills overlooking Buttermere and felt he was in trouble.
At that moment, Richard had his ominous premonition that Mindy, who was at his bedside, was told that she might not wake up, and began to scream. In his dream, Richard said he then “came back”. Shortly after he opened his eyes.
S magazine columnist Mindy opened up about the “horrible, horrible time” she had lying motionless in her hospital bed and why she unleashed her “hysterical” screams.
She also recalled comedy moments when, after waking up from a coma, Richard thought his wife was French.
Richard said Mindy’s loud screams pulled him back
Mindy told the Sunday Express: “I knew he was there to film but he didn’t tell me he did that (video),” Mindy said. “Our daughter Izzy was the one who saw it and told me about it. He probably forgot to tell me because he does this a lot! As soon as he started talking, I knew what was coming.”
And what followed was a very powerful description of how, after Vampire’s dragster crashed at 310mph while filming Top Gear and he was on the brink of life and death, he could still hear his wife’s voice.
“It was a terrible, terrible time,” says Mindy, 57. “The nurse tried all these observations by pushing him and clearly she was getting nothing. And I remember saying to him “That’s bad, isn’t it? Because things were obviously going in the wrong direction, she started yelling “Richard, Richard” at him. I said, “Can I yell at him too?”
“I got very close to his face and shouted, ‘Richard, Richard, squeeze those bloody fingers. You have to go back’. You’re hysterical because you just know that if you don’t get an answer, the slide starts. I was swearing at him. You would do anything.”
Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson
Mindy says that after all the yelling and swearing, Richard’s index fingers made the slightest move.
“And soon after that he opened his eyes a little, as if he had dipped his head briefly over the parapet. I remember him looking at me for a few seconds, absolutely blank. He had no idea who I was.
“I went to the toilet and absolutely cried because I was like, ‘Where are you?’ I thought I didn’t really know what the outcome would be. Now I know people come back from brain injuries and look at their lives and say, “I don’t want this.” And look at their wife and think “I don’t want her either”! You just don’t know what you’re going to get. I thought, “Will he ever know who I am?” It was hard.
“There was a funny moment though where he said, ‘Oh, you’re lovely, but you’re going to have to go because my wife’s coming in a minute. You’re pretty, but you’re not my wife. My wife is French!”
At the time of the accident, Richard and Mindy’s children, Izzy and Willow, were just six and three years old. “I thought what do I do now? Will he be able to return to work? What if he can’t walk again? It blew our world away.”
But Mindy was sure she would make it. The accident happened at the former RAF Elvington air base, near York. The car’s right front tire failed, the car overturned and Richard had to be cut out with hydraulic shears and airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary.
“The moment I saw him when I first got to the hospital, even though he was wired up and didn’t look very nice, with a bulging eye and a lump on his forehead that made him look like a Klingon, I thought he would be well
“I thought if anyone’s going to come back from this, they will, because he’s kind of stubborn. I had all the faith.”
After emerging from the coma, he suffered from post-traumatic amnesia and a five-second memory. And months later, the couple talked about his dream and the incredible power of the brain.
Mindy revealed: “He said ‘You come to me’ and he knew he was in trouble because normally I don’t doubt it. Hearing me yell at him was really unusual and serious.
“He remembered me yelling and it was an easy route he was going. It was very hard to “come back”. It is clearly an extraordinary effort. The only way he could explain it was to imagine that you were paralyzed and you were on your stomach and you had to reach with your fingers and pull yourself up.
“I think that’s why when people are in a coma and they’re talking about withdrawal, that’s literally what you’re doing. It’s sheer guts and determination.”
Richard made the video on What Next? on DriveTribe, his social media platform with Jeremy Clarkson and James May. Mindy says she wanted to provide comfort to people going through a similar experience. And to show how vital it is to keep talking to seriously ill patients.
“I suppose it’s some sort of reassurance for him that he’s dipped a toe — and he’s gone to his favorite place in the world. It’s to give comfort to anyone else, to say well you know I’ve been kind of there and it’s okay.
“And it shows that anyone in serious condition can still hear you. It’s so important to keep communicating.”
Richard returned to work just months after the accident and Mindy admits it was too soon.
“Normally, someone with a severe brain injury returns to work very slowly. Telly is not like that.
“I kept him at home, quiet, as much as possible, but then he started going crazy and actually his doctor said that’s counterproductive now, for him to feel like he’s getting better, he has to go to work. He had to go back inside and it was very choreographed. Everyone knew that you just had to be a little careful and that he didn’t overdo it.
“He was on The Jonathan Ross Show and when we went back again about a year later, he didn’t remember appearing on it. It was probably too early, to be honest.”
Since leaving Top Gear, Richard has worked on The Grand Tour with Clarkson and May, as well as Richard Hammond’s Workshop on Discovery +, which features Mindy. “Mostly I just sit there and say, ‘You’re an idiot.’ This is my role!”
It is filmed near their Herefordshire home, which they share with schoolgirl daughters Izzy, 22, and Willow, 19, and a menagerie of animals, which Mindy writes about each week in her column for S Stores.
“One thing that Richard and I have always said is that you shouldn’t define yourself by something awful that happens,” Mindy says. “You deal with it, move on and move forward. It’s really counterproductive to hang on to it.
“Remember, his memory is flourishing. Do you think that’s the brain damage or just you?!”
Mindy understands why Richard shot the video where he did. Three years ago the couple bought a house in Buttermere and it is Richard’s special place.
“He goes there more than I do. It’s his place. He was walking around a lot there and this was going through his mind. I guess as we all get older we lose people…
“It’s really good to share this to help others. If you have someone you’re losing, it might give you some comfort.”