Like many youngsters, 10 year-old Noah Crooks from Woodford near Bude, was relieved as this spring’s corona-virus lockdown eased and he could start playing outside with his friends again.

A keen and confident young cyclist, Noah enjoyed the first steps of independence by being allowed to cycle to their local convenience store in Morwenstowe, 1.5 miles from his home, and would often see his grandparents who live just next door to the shop.

On 15 July this year (2020), Noah was looking forward to meeting up with his friends to play football on the playing fields near to the shop. Described by his mum, Kate, as ‘a football fanatic’, Noah had his football in a backpack as he and his friends met up at the shop, all eager for their kick around.

A dramatic turn of events

The afternoon took a dramatic turn, however, when Noah was cycling down the hill to get to the park and was knocked off his bike by a car. He hit the front of the car and was thrown into the air, landing on his back.

His young friends witnessed the accident and two of them ran back to the shop to get help, the third waiting with Noah. The shopkeeper, knowing all her local customers well, immediately telephoned Noah’s dad, Nick, who raced to the scene. Kate was also called and rushed to her young son, where she was shocked and upset to find Noah still in the road. “Mum,” he said, “Don’t cry, I’m fine!”

The emergency services had been called and soon after his parents’ arrival, the Devon Air Ambulance landed nearby. Learning that Noah had been unconscious briefly after the incident, the aircrew medical team assessed Noah’s injuries and, coupled with the damage to the car that they could see, and to Noah’s cycle helmet, they made the decision to convey Noah to Bristol Children’s Hospital for further tests.  

Relief and good fortune

Noah’s mum, Kate, was relieved to learn she could travel in the helicopter with her son, while dad, Nick, followed by car.  

On arrival at Bristol Children’s Hospital, Noah had CT scans and X-rays where, by amazing good fortune, results revealed that his injuries were largely superficial. He had suffered abrasions and bruising to his back but, incredibly, landing on the football in his backpack had actually protected him. And, without doubt, his cycle helmet, which was broken front and back, had clearly protected his head.

Noah’s parents were so relieved:

The doctors stressed that things could have been so different if Noah hadn’t been wearing his cycle helmet,' explained Kate. “He might well have suffered a serious brain injury, or even worse, it just doesn’t bear thinking about it. The whole incident has been a real lesson to us all – and we’re so keen now to promote safe cycling!

Noah spent the night in hospital, kept in for observation. Once back home in his village, he learned he had become quite the celebrity. His friends all came to see him, many bearing chocolate and cards, all relieved to learn that Noah was going to be just fine.

Kate and Nick are now eager to encourage ALL cyclists to wear a helmet whenever they are out on a bike.

Noah’s accident was just a one-off but the outcome might have been so different. The driver did nothing wrong at all, she wasn’t speeding or on her phone or anything, but the accident really shook her up as well. The impact of the incident has been far-reaching but if we can turn it into a positive by promoting safe cycling, we’ll feel something good has come out of it. 

To that end, Kate and her family have created posters and colouring sheets that have been distributed around their local area.

Noah's family are reinforcing their message of wearing a cycling helmet and welcoming donations to Noah's JustGiving page in support of Devon Air Ambulance.

Noah's family is also raising awareness about the importance of wearing a cycle helmet. To help, why not print out this fantastic colouring in sheet on our young people's page or share this poster?