The family of a father-to-be who contracted a severe form of swine flu and was given just hours to live are preparing to welcome him home for Christmas after his miraculous recovery.

David Knight, 29, of Connemara Close, Westbury, has been fighting for his life since being diagnosed with swine flu in October, which was discovered after he underwent an emergency operation at the Royal United Hospital in Bath to remove his colon.

David, who works at Wright Fuel in Staverton, had only just moved in with fiancee Gail Hudson, who is due to give birth to their first child on April 1, when he became seriously ill.

His father, Calvin, and mother Jackie, both 50, of Budbury Tynings in Bradford on Avon, said it will be the best Christmas present ever to have their son home for Christmas Day.

Calvin said: “The hospital have been looking at letting him home for Christmas Day. It will mean everything to us to have him home because Christmas is never complete if a member of your family isn’t there.

“He’s planning to have dinner at Gail’s mum and dad’s house and then he will come to us in the evening for tea.

“If he carries on the way he has, he could be home before Christmas, but we’re not counting our chickens yet.

“We’re just taking it a day at a time, but every day he’s getting stronger. He’s amazed the doctors by his recovery.”

David is now back at the RUH after being airlifted by RAF Sea King helicopter to the Glenfield Hospital in Leicester in October, where he was put on an ECMO machine, which takes over from the lungs, and keeps up the circulation of blood and oxygen in the body.

His dad said: “His friends and family are able to go in and see him now, which is a big boost. He doesn’t believe he was in Leicester. He doesn’t realise the extent of what has happened to him.”

But the Liverpool supporter gave his family another scare on returning to the RUH last month after suffering another rupture in his stomach.

His father said: “They told us he might not make it through the night, so we said our last goodbyes again, but now he is walking around and talking. He even took his fiancee to the restaurant in the hospital for her 21st birthday last week.”