Rod Newbolt-Young, from Widecombe, worked for the emergency services, but little did he realise that one day he would actually need the service himself.

Rod had had been carrying out repairs to a barn roof on the family farm when the ladder slipped out from under him. Rod slid down the roof and, although he was able to fall on his feet, he felt his ankle ‘shatter’ as he landed. To make matters worse, Rod then tried to stand, but the searing plan was so severe he fell into the road, knocking himself out. He was found by the local farrier who had recently completed a first aid course. Thinking he was helping, he tried to straighten the broken bone, using a broom handle. Rod remembers that “the pain was unbearable and I let him know it in no uncertain terms!”

Fortunately, help arrived from both the Ashburton land ambulance crew and the Devon Air Ambulance and Rod was flown to Torbay Hospital. Rod recalls the pilot saying, “Hang on in there, the flight will be just 7 minutes.” Surgery corrected the break and Rod’s ankle subsequently healed, although he had to spend 9 weeks in hospital. 

Rod was reminded of how smooth and straightforward the flight was when, a few years later, he nearly severed his arm in an accident with a chain-saw and his wife drove him to Torbay Hospital. Rod explained, “This journey was far longer and far more painful than the flight in the Air Ambulance; I could feel every vibration and bump. I will always be grateful that Devon Air Ambulance was there when I needed their help.”

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