THE grandmother of a Royal Navy sailor who was seriously injured in a helicopter accident has spoken of her New Year joy at his recovery.

Stuart Cormack, who was brought up in Coal Clough Lane, Burnley, was left fighting for his life after being hit by debris from a helicopter's rotor blades a month ago.

But the 20-year-old is now off the critical list and has left Southampton Hospital, where he spent a week in intensive care.

He was also in the high dependency unit for a further week before being moved to the orthopaedic ward.

He has now been transferred to the famous St James' Hospital -- Jimmy's -- Leeds, where he is said to be making "steady progress."

Mary Cormack, who recently suffered heart failure, has been praying for Stuart ever since the accident. She said his recovery was the most important thing to her.

Mary, of Lord Avenue, Stacksteads, said: "It is very comforting to know that Stuart is closer to home. Despite being ill myself it has made my Christmas knowing that Stuart is on the mend.

"It was looking very bleak at one point, so the main thing is that he is getting better."

Two other people were also badly hurt in the incident, in Portland, Dorset, and the Ministry of Defence is conducting an inquiry into the cause of the accident.

It was the 20-year-old's lifetime ambition to serve in the Royal Navy after joining the sea cadets. His family still live in the Coal Clough area.

As a member of the flight deck crew, Stuart was on board the (Royal Fleet Auxiliary training ship when the accident happened.

The helicopter came to land on the ship which carries Royal Navy helicopters. Stuart was said to be on the flight deck when he was hit by debris from the rotor blades of the helicopter.

The coastguard helicopter was in the area and took the injured to Southampton Hospital straight away.

An MOD spokesman said today a full inquiry was into the continuing into the cause of the accident was continuing.