Gretton car crash couple thank air medics who saved them

Jess and Keith Wheatley
Jess and Keith Wheatley

A family from Gretton are backing the air ambulance’s Christmas fundraising campaign after experiencing firsthand how vital their help is.

Jess and Keith Wheatley were involved in a serious road accident on the A6003 near Oakham last December.

Their injuries were so severe, the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and the Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance were called.

When the air ambulance crews arrived, they worked with the other emergency services to get the couple from their vehicle as quickly as possible.

Keith, who had broken his arm, collarbone, several ribs and his pelvis, as well as punctured a lung, ruptured his spleen and developed a blood clot on the brain, was the first to be airlifted to hospital.

Jess, who suffered 12 broken ribs and had broken her hip, was also airlifted.

Critical care paramedic Philippa Gibbs said: “Our helicopters followed each other.

“The Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance flew Keith to University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, and swiftly moved off the helipad again to allow the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance to land and get Jess into hospital too.

“This is a great example of our teamwork, and teamwork I am very proud to be part of.”

Jess and Keith have devoted their time and efforts to The Air Ambulance Service since 2007, holding and taking part in competitions and events in Gretton and further afield to fundraise for the charity.

But the couple never expected to need the service themselves.

Their daughter Elaine said: “Last Christmas was terrible for us.

“Mum and Dad were in a critical condition.

“They ended up in hospital for months. And there were times we thought we’d lost them.

“But now they are back home – smiling and sharing family jokes, and Mum’s biggest wish has come true.

“We are all together again this Christmas.”

The Wheatley family is now asking the public to give whatever they can afford to help keep The Air Ambulance Service in the sky and help keep other families together.

To make a donation to The Air Ambulance Service Christmas Wishes Appeal, visit www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk/christmasappeal or call 08454 130999.