“On 27 September 1998, cycling from Four Firs, Woodbury Common to Yettington, a six year old boy stepped out of a parked car and I apparently had glancing contact with him. I have no memory of the incident but was left unconscious and bleeding with a serious facial injury and limb lacerations as result of “aquaplaning” on the tarmac. A resident heard the commotion, seeing what had happened, called 999. On arrival, the land ambulance crew deemed it necessary to call the Devon Air Ambulance.

“The helicopter landed on a small grass area near Kerslake Farm and took me to the Royal Devon & Exeter hospital. My cycle helmet sustained a crack at the front, undoubtedly preventing a head injury, however my jaw bone was exposed requiring 26 stitches, both eyes were black and I had many cuts to the face. It was a two-night stay in hospital before recovery at home in Topsham.  My helmet was subsequently given to the Devon Drivers’ Centre for the road safety staff to use as an example of why helmets are useful!

“A month later, there was a meeting at the Exeter airport base with paramedics Helen and Dominic who helped me.  And on 26 September 2008, at The Lord Haldon Hotel Dunchideock, I was one of many former patients at the launch of the new helicopter G-DVAA. 

“Without the timely help of the Air Ambulance crew treating me on board and the immediate expertise of the surgeon at the hospital on arrival I may not have recovered as well as I did; thankfully I did make a full recovery and before long I even had the confidence to ‘get back on the bike’!”

Due to patient confidentiality we only hear from about 15% of former patients who approach us, but it's these stories that help our messages to be heard and help to raise the £6.4 million we need to keep Devon's air ambulances flying. Do you have a story to share? We'd love to hear from you.