Jeanette Bishop from Millbrook near Torpoint has been a keen cyclist all her adult life and regularly clocks up thousands of miles a year through her passion of road cycling and mountain biking. Given her experience, therefore, no one was more surprised that Jeanette herself when a cycling accident on Dartmoor left her needing the services of Devon Air Ambulance.

Jeanette was riding with her friend Peter on a particularly bleak stretch of the moors near Princetown one morning in September 2020, when she was caught by an unexpectedly strong gust of wind, which picked her and her bike up before dropping them to the ground. Unfortunately, Jeanette landed on a crop of rocks alongside the track, hitting her head, shoulder and wrist as she fell.

Peter immediately called the emergency services, using the What3Words app to pin-point their location. Devon’s Air Ambulance was soon on its way with the helicopter dispatcher able to offer the vital information from What3Words to help the aircrew find the incident.
Another couple of cyclists stopped to assist and, learning of Jeanette’s misfortune, one explained that they had also had a similar incident further up the track, but were saved by landing on grass – the weather certainly had a lot to answer for that day.

“I was in so much pain,” Jeanette explained.

I knew I’d smashed my shoulder really badly and my wrist. I remember drifting in and out of awareness because of the excruciating pain. Whilst I could hear everything going on around me, I was unable to respond.

Landing nearby, aircrew paramedics Andy Dunne and Paul White were able to offer Jeanette some much-needed pain relief at the scene before preparing her for a helicopter flight to Derriford Hospital. Jeanette’s memory of that time is very clear:

My overwhelming memory is that I was in a tunnel, but couldn’t get out. I could hear voices, but couldn’t tell them that I was alive. I thought I was dying. I could see a light in the distance, but felt sure that if I got to the end, I’d be dead.

Five days later, Jeanette had surgery to repair damage to her shoulder and wrist and spent two weeks in hospital. Speaking to us twelve weeks after the incident Jeanette was frustrated about her recovery: “It’s all taking so much longer than I expected! I’ve always been so fit and active; I really had expected to be back on my bike by now.”

Jeanette can’t wait to be fully recovered and is keeping her fitness up with regular training on a turbo-trainer at her home as well as rehab exercises. And, along with the turbo she is now walking at least 10,000 steps a day to increase her fitness.

“I’m really grateful for the help I had from Devon Air Ambulance back in September and the support from my husband Rob, along with fellow cycling friends, since I’ve been home. Hopefully, I’ll be back out with my friends at the YOGI Cycling Club in Plymouth when the current lockdown is over and also going mountain biking with my grandson Herb. When circumstances allow, I am also looking forward to meeting Andy and Paul to thank them for their help and kindness”.

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