“They were just tremendous, ” were the words of Adrienne Chichester from Mary Tavy when asked about the Devon Air Ambulance paramedics who looked after her when she was thrown from her horse in a remote part of Dartmoor just before Christmas last year.
“My friend and I were out riding at White Tor, near Peter Tavy,” explained Adrienne, known as Addy.
“I have been riding for years and had owned Twiggy for two years. She was a little frisky that day so my friend went on while I sorted Twiggy out. A short while later Twiggy seemed much calmer so I went to re-mount. Unfortunately, Twiggy had other ideas and took off – at what seemed like 60 miles an hour!
With one foot in the stirrup, I was partly attached to the horse and tried to run alongside but she stopped just as suddenly and I fell very abruptly. I landed awkwardly and was hurting quite badly.
I could move my fingers and toes but I just knew I had to stay very still. Twiggy then bolted and ran off into the distance as I dialled 999 from my mobile. I wasn’t exactly sure where I was, but I could see the spire of a church so gave that as a landmark. I wished I had been wearing hi-viz clothing but at least I had on my lime green wellies!
I was so grateful when I heard the whirring of the helicopter as it got closer and knew that help would soon be on hand. Without them, I just don’t know where I’d be.”
Exeter-based paramedics Paul Robinson and Eddie Bunday were out with pilot Mark Woolcock when the call came in and they were soon en route to help Addy out. It transpired that Addy was wise to have lain still as she had actually broken her back. The aircrew treated her at the scene and conveyed her to Derriford Hospital where she spent a further 6 days. “It was four weeks before I was back on my feet,” continued Adrienne, “and even longer before I could return to driving. But I am just so grateful and feel so incredibly lucky that the Devon Air Ambulance came to my rescue – or my recovery would certainly have taken a whole lot longer!”
Post script: Twiggy was caught by Addy’s riding partner later the same morning and was returned safe and sound to Adrienne’s home - completely unaware of the impact of her behaviour!