YORK poet and musician Steve Nash is celebrating winning a prestigious award – a year after cheating death in a car accident.

The York St John University academic had been travelling the country promoting his first book of poems when his performing career was nearly ended.

He had been travelling in a Nissan Micra with friends to watch a friend play at a gig when the vehicle was destroyed in a collision on the Skull and Crossbones Bridge in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, last May.

His friend Rob Pilmore, who had been on his way to play guitar, had some of his fingers crushed by his guitar case in the back seat. He was told he may never be able to play again but has made a comeback in the York scene recently.

Mr Nash was the first to be rushed to hospital because he seemed the most seriously injured. He had been in the front passenger seat.

He suffered multiple fractures and was laid up for three months before being given intensive physiotherapy.

He said: “My back is still a knotted and mangled mess and they have told me I will never be quite the same again.”

Now, after a year-long fight back to fitness, he has beaten some much bigger names in poetry by winning Performer of the Year at the Saboteur Awards in Oxford, the biggest independent literary contest.

Ironically, although a musician as well, he has always considered himself more of a written word artist than a live performer.

He added: “I am more of a poet for the page but because I am from a musical background I am very aware of the audience and try to put on a show.”

Steve, 32, was born in Ripon to Army parents and teaches English Literature and Creative Writing at York St John, where he was an undergraduate.

In early 2013, Steve’s career was bursting with promise as he published his first book of poems called Taking The Long Walk Home.

It was inspired by the nomadic life- style he led as a so-called Army brat, with parents in the military.

Steve has begun to accept invitations to perform in public once again, and his calendar is already filling up with guest sets across the North, his agents say.