A grateful farmer has thanked the flying medics who came to his rescue after a round bale fell on top of him at his farm in Old Battersby, Great Ayton.
Ken Atkinson, 72, met the crew from the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) who were at the scene of his accident, and he handed £550 to the charity which was raised during a celebration for his golden wedding anniversary, alongside wife Ann.
The father-of-two was unloading round bales from a trailer, when one fell from the top and knocked him to the ground in September 2012. His brother, Les, ran next door to Mr Atkinson’s house to raise the alarm and it was there that Mrs Atkinson rang the emergency services.
She said: “We were all in such a panic, it was just awful. I’ve never felt so happy to hear those air ambulance rotors in all of my life.”
Initially, medics feared he had damaged his spine and GNAAS flew him to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, but luckily he escaped without serious injury.
This week, he made a visit to the GNAAS airbase at Durham Tees Valley Airport along with Ann, and sons, Philip and David, to meet the two paramedics who treated him, Jane Peacock and Stuart Thompson.
Mr Atkinson said: “It has been such a privilege to thank the crew in person and I feel honoured to be here today. They are just brilliant and it has been a real eye-opener.
“We’re all strong advocates of the air ambulance and often see it fly over our house on its way to help another injured person in need. It is a crucial service and one I wholeheartedly encourage others to support.”
Mr and Mrs Atkinson celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at the Dudley Arms, Ingleby Greenhow, in May. The pair, who were teen sweethearts, asked family and friends to make a donation to the charity in lieu of presents.
Paramedic, Jane Peacock, said: “Without donations from people like these we could not continue to do what we do. We need to raise around £4.5 million every single year to stay operational. It has been a pleasure to see Ken and his family today and I am just pleased that he is doing so well.”
Mr Atkinson, who has been farming since he was 15-years-old has plans to retire next year.