Scottish Daily Mail

A mother’s courage that leaves me so humbled


Just over a year ago, Victoria Milligan was enjoying the perfect break at her holiday home in Cornwall with husband Nick and their four beautiful young children. As she admits today, she had it all: a wonderful family, a job she enjoyed and, i n addition to the house in Cornwall, a lovely home in one of London’s leafiest suburbs.

then in one horrific moment her life was shattered. Victoria was driving their speedboat off a Cornish beach with all the family aboard, when Nick — a senior executive at sky — reached over and grabbed the helm to turn the boat, setting the engine to full throttle.

It reared violently, and all of them were thrown overboard. With the boat circling unmanned at full revs, they were directly in its path as they floated in the sea in lifejacket­s.

Nick, 51, and eight-year-old daughter Emily were killed. Victoria, then 39, lost part of her leg, and their five-yearold son Kit suffered what were described as ‘life- changing wounds’. Miraculous­ly, the couple’s two other children Olivia and Amber, 11 and 12 at the time, escaped with minor injuries.

It was a tragedy so awful that it seemed inconceiva­ble any mother could recover. Yet Victoria refuses to be beaten by it. Yesterday, in the most uplifting BBC interview, she revealed that in the past year, she has raised £250,000 for Cornwall Air Ambulance.

Now, she’s planning to j oin a sponsored bike ride to raise another £500,000 — this time for the Royal National Lifeboat Institutio­n and Child Bereavemen­t uK.

What an astonishin­g achievemen­t. We bandy around the term ‘hero’ all too freely nowadays, but Victoria Milligan’s heroism is truly extraordin­ary.

she admits the last year has been agony. ‘If someone said to me on May 4 last year you are going to lose your husband, your daughter and your leg tomorrow, you would go: “that’s ridiculous because no one can possibly ever cope with that.” ’

TOdAY, she jokes about her prosthetic legs — she has one for exercising (she’s back at work as a PE teacher), a waterproof one for swimming — and one for high heels. Her determinat­ion is a lesson to us all. ‘I look at some of my friends and think “you worry about the most trivial things,”’ she says. ‘I would urge everyone to appreciate what you have, because you have no idea what’s round the corner.’

And from her strength she draws comfort. ‘I know Nick and Emily are looking down on us proudly today,’ she says.

Indeed, all of us are looking at her bravery and humility in awe.

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