Natalie's on road to recovery after Christmas horror smash

HER parents feared it was a day they would never see.

But after more than 20 days in hospital, seven-year-old Natalie, from Saughton, has made her first steps home – and on the road to recovery.

Natalie – whose surname has been withheld at the request of her parents – was hit by a car on Stevenson Drive just after 4pm on Christmas Eve.

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She was making her way over a pedestrian crossing with her father and younger sister Patricia, five, to get to the nearby Saughton Park where they going were to make a snowman to celebrate Christmas.

Her mother, Kate, 28, was to follow behind, after she had finished putting her children's gifts under the tree in the family sitting room – presents Natalie only got to open on Friday.

When Kate came out, she discovered her daughter lying on the road, covered in blood.

She said: "I was in such shock – I just didn't believe it. These past weeks have been an absolute nightmare, but it is wonderful to have her home."

Brave Natalie, a bright and talented pupil at Dalry Primary School, was rushed to the Sick Kids Hospital by ambulance, where she remained in intensive care for five days, with no movement or communication with her family.

She was eventually moved to a ward where her physical health was gradually restored, along with her movement and speech.

Yet only time will tell if she will ever fully recover from a brain injury which is preventing her from taking part in many activities she excelled in before her accident, such as drawing and painting.

Her father Michael, 31, a shop worker, said: "Her progress has been brilliant and we just want to get back to normal life now.

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"The doctors said such injuries can take more than a year to heal, so we just have to take each day at a time.

"We thought we had lost her that day, though. She was just lying there with all of this blood coming out of her face.

"I cannot thank the staff at Sick Kids enough, or my colleagues, as they have been absolutely wonderful."

Before her accident, Natalie loved to play with her sister, also at Dalry Primary, and their pet German Shepherd, while enjoying weekends with her family, either ice-skating, swimming or in the park – all activities her parents hope she will be able to do again soon.

Michael said: "Natalie opened her Christmas presents when she came home, but we haven't have a proper Christmas dinner – it just doesn't feel right, almost fake.

"This Christmas is finished, but hopefully things will be very different for us next Christmas."