Frizington grandfather thanks air ambulance after bike accident


A GRANDFATHER-of-three has handed over £3,909 to rescuers after he was seriously injured in a biking accident. Derek Tunstall MBE from Arlecdon, Frizington, was riding on Ullock Pike ridge near Bassenthwaite, when he came off his bike in November 2015. The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) and mountain rescue went to his aid. The 64-year-old said: “I can’t remember anything.

A GRANDFATHER-of-three has handed over £3,909 to rescuers after he was seriously injured in a biking accident.

Derek Tunstall MBE from Arlecdon, Frizington, was riding on Ullock Pike ridge near Bassenthwaite, when he came off his bike in November 2015.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) and mountain rescue went to his aid.

The 64-year-old said: “I can’t remember anything. I set off from the top of Ullock Pike and I only got about 100 yards, the rest is a blank. I woke up with pain in my chest wondering what had happened.”  

Mr Tunstall had suffered a collapsed lung and broken ribs in the fall. He attempted to walk back to his car but it became increasingly difficult. “A passer-by said I didn’t look too well and that I should get help. That’s when I called 999,” he said.  

GNAAS doctor Laura Duffy and paramedic Andy Dalton swiftly arrived at the scene alongside mountain rescue.

“They were all brilliant, they knew exactly what to do,” said Mr Tunstall, a mountain rescue team member himself for nearly 30 years. “The Keswick team were on another call-out so members from my own team – Cockermouth – came to my aid, shortly followed by members from Keswick,” he continued.  

Mr Tunstall spent four days at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary where doctors put a drain in his chest. This procedure drains air, blood or fluid from around a patient’s lungs which allows them to fully expand.

Now, after taking on a “demanding” six-day 210-mile mountain bike ride from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay, he has raised £3,906 and thanked the team on-board the aircraft. He visited the GNAAS crew at their Langwathby airbase alongside his sons, Ian and Lee, and grandson Ronnie.

“As I was talking to them I felt like welling up, it was quite emotional.

“They were very professional and caring throughout the rescue, as it should be,” he said.

Speaking of GNAAS, he added: “It is brilliant. We couldn’t do without it.

“It saves so much time and they can carry out a lot of interventions which saves lives. It’s a winner.”

Senior aircrew paramedic Andy Dalton, said: “I have worked with Derek at mountain rescues and it just goes to show that any one of us can need help. The money raised will go towards saving lives across the region which Derek has seen up-close more than most. It was a pleasure to welcome him to our airbase.”

Mr Tunstall has already donated funds to both mountain rescue teams.

He was awarded an MBE in 2000 for three decades of work as a national park voluntary warden. 

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