A woman has thanked the air ambulance crew who came to her rescue after she fell from a horse.
Trudi Higgins, 52, had been living in France for 20 years after moving there from Rugby in 1992, but came back to England on holiday in March 2012.
During her trip she went on an organised horse ride, near West Haddon, Daventry, with her sister and niece, and it was during this that she needed the help of Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance.
Trudi said: “We were just reaching the end of the hack when I somehow lost control of my horse and ended up falling; the ground was incredibly solid after a cold winter so the impact of my body on the floor was very hard.
“I immediately tried to get up, but my body wasn’t working and was refusing to do what I had asked it to, which was very frightening.
“Then the pain hit me.
“It was a searing, agonising pain coming from the lower part of my body – but I couldn’t tell which body part it was coming from.
“Someone called 999 and the others took the horses back to the stable while my sister stayed with me, trying to calm me as we waited for help to arrive.
“I was crying out in pain and absolutely terrified as I didn’t know what was wrong – I genuinely believed that I was paralysed from the waist down and that I’d never walk again.
“It wasn’t long before I heard the sound of Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance arriving.
“The sound of the helicopter filled me with such a sense of relief – help was on its way and I knew that the air ambulance would be giving the very best help.
“The two air ambulance paramedics were fantastic.
“Their gentle and decisive manner instantly calmed me down and reassured me that everything would be ok.
“They splinted my injured leg, gave me pain relief, and strapped me on to a stretcher before taking me to the helicopter.
“The journey to the trauma centre at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) was short, and the reassuring manner of the paramedics was continued all the way there as they continually comforted me and checked that my condition was not deteriorating.
“Once I arrived at the hospital, I was diagnosed as having four fractures of my pelvis and two fractures of the spine – but thankfully I was not paralysed.
“Thanks to the air ambulance, my injuries were treated quickly by the very best people.
“The same journey by land ambulance would have taken much longer and wouldn’t have been as smooth as the helicopter journey – something very important given the nature of my injuries.
“After two weeks on the trauma ward I was flown to Paris and then on to Bordeaux.
“I spent one month on my back in hospital in Bordeaux, before spending another month in a hospital closer to my home.
“It was a long recovery process but it could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for the help of the air ambulance on the day.”
Trudi has now been able to return and meet the crew who helped treat her and airlift her to hospital.
Trudi added: “I will forever be grateful for the crew for attending my incident that day and I will never forget the calm and professional way in which they treated me.
“I can’t believe that the charity receives no Government or National Lottery funding.
“If it wasn’t for the generosity of members of the public then the air ambulance would not have been there to attend my incident, and that’s why I’m encouraging others to donate where possible to keep this vital service running.”
Trudi visited the paramedics who rescued her today (July 1), including Paul Mullins, and presented them with a donation of £1,000.
A spokesman for the charity said: “We love it when patients come back to visit us, it’s great for the crew to see the progress they have made since the accident.
“We’re very grateful to Trudi for the donation she has made to us, it will go a long way to help us continue our life-saving work.”
If you have been rescued by the air ambulance and would like to share your story with them, visit www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk, or call 08454 130999.
Trudi made her donation to the Paramedic Paul appeal.
To donate, visit www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk/paramedicpaul.