NEW hope has been given to the family of a mum left on a life support machine after she was attacked in the street.
Claire Hilton was paralysed from the chest down when she was assaulted as she made her way along Rectory Bank in West Boldon.
The incident left the 28-year-old with a broken neck and severe spinal injuries.
Claire, of West Boldon, is being treated at Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital where, last week, she underwent an operation to have a tracheotomy fitted.
Now, despite still relying on a ventilator to help her breathe, medics have moved her out of the intensive care unit and on to a spinal injuries ward where, in time, she will undergo physiotherapy treatment.
Her dad Paddy Hilton, said: “Claire has now been moved off the intensive care unit and we have seen a little bit of improvement even though she is still on a ventilator.
“Since it happened we have been able to communicate with Claire. She has been talking to us, although at times it has been quite hard to understand her.
“It has been hard for all of us, but by moving her off the intensive care unit can only be an improvement.”
The mum-of-one now faces having to come to terms with spending the rest of her life in a wheelchair.
Meanwhile, friends left devastated by what has happened to the former Boldon Comprehensive School pupil have rallied round to hold a fund-raising night.
The disco and karaoke event is being held on Friday, July 15, at the Boldon British Legion Club in North Road, Boldon. All cash raised on the night will be given to Claire’s family.
The event has been organised by Sue and Emma Walker with the help of manageress at the club Linda Turgoose, who is also the mum of Dieter, Claire’s partner of 14 years.
Mrs Walker, said: “We have all been left shocked by what happened to Claire and we just wanted to do something for her.
“We have had so much help from Linda Potter, a former teacher of Claire’s and we so grateful for everything she has done so far.
“At the moment we are looking for raffle prizes and we would appreciate any help the shops can give us through the donation of prizes.”