It was the first week of the school summer holidays in July 2001 when brothers Sam, Tom and Charlie Scoble were playing football in the garden with their friends, while grandad was mowing the lawn and their parents were packing and preparing for a family camping holiday.

Suddenly, Sam raced indoors saying there had been an accident. As mum, Wendy, and dad Colin, rushed outside, they grabbed towels on the way. Six year old Tom was laying face down on the grass, with his t-shirt in shreds. He had chased the football into the path of the sit-on mower and been run over.

Ten-year old Sam remained calm and helped remove the grass cutter from Tom. As Wendy frantically telephoned for help, she was horrified to see accident had taken the skin from across his back.

Tom was still conscious as paramedics from the land ambulance and Devon Air Ambulance arrived. DAA paramedic Nigel Hare remembers the job well. “With muscle and tissue exposed there was a real risk of infection,” Nigel explained, “it was a very nasty wound.”  Tom was flown to Derriford Hospital where his treatment included a blood transfusion and a series of skin grafts.

Much of the work was carried out by plastic surgeon, Mr Morris, a fellow parent of children at Mount House School where Tom attended. Wendy explained, “As soon as he heard about the accident he offered to help. He explained that ‘he was not just treating the wound, he was treating the whole person’. It was a lengthy process but Tom was so brave. He came home from hospital about 2 weeks later and I then looked after the dressings. We were all so focussed on Tom’s recovery. Incredibly, he was determined to go back to school that September!”

Now in his twenties, a keen surfer, an accomplished musician and having completed a degree in Photography at Cardiff University, Tom has only vague memories of the day of the accident. “I remember things like hating that I had to wear a rash vest when I went swimming. But my mum told me to say my injuries were from a shark bite! I’ve had a few repercussions since; when I was 17 I did the ‘gruelling’ Devizes – Westminster international canoe race and the wound opened up again… but other than some scarring on my lower back, I’m fine now.”

Tom’s story was covered in the press at the time and Wendy was amazed by the love and support they received, “We had letters and cards from well-wishers from around the world, it was really heart-warming.”

A happy ending for Tom, and an experience that didn't stop him doing what he wanted to do. Do you have an airlift story you'd like to share? We'd love to hear from you.