Horse rider who feared losing her foot thanks GNAAS for coming to her aid

A WOMAN who feared she would lose her foot after falling from her horse has thanked the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) after fundraising for the charity.

Caroline Baker, 27, from Hamsterley, County Durham, was horse riding through a field in Leasingthorne, near Kirk Merrington, when her horse hit a hedge and threw her out of the saddle on December 31, 2011.

She said: “My horse had a rotational fall, which is when the horse hits its chest, and we flipped over.

“The horse was fine but I was worried about my back after landing on the ground. I dislocated my foot and my toes were pointing round to my groin.”

Miss Baker was treated by the GNAAS paramedic and doctor team and airlifted to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough for further treatment.

She said: “The doctor on board took my boot off and put my foot back into the joint. The hospital I went to credited the doctor because they said my foot was at risk, and a doctor is needed for the procedure, so the prognosis was much better than it could have been.”

Miss Baker underwent a couple of operations on her foot and was on crutches for seven months. She also carried out physiotherapy for a year to help strengthen her foot, and now has to wear specialist insoles in her shoes.

She said: “I am fundamentally grateful because I can still do most things. It has changed things because I can’t run, so I have to be careful because I live on a farm and have to be aware of cattle, and can’t get out of the way quick enough. I was very fortunate, but the fall has made a lasting impact.”

Miss Baker is part of the Stockton Young Farmers Club which in recognition of the work of GNAAS held a fundraising ball, raising £2,000 for the charity.

She said: “We’ve raised money for them because living in Hamsterley Forest we see GNAAS fly over most weekends. They offer a very worthwhile service and we never forget the value of GNAAS.

“We’re fortunate that they are there, but it’s unfortunate that we need them. The speed of them getting to you and also to hospital, plus the quality of the knowledge and experience of the aircrew is unbelievable. I’m so grateful for it.”

GNAAS is funded entirely by donations. Last year, it needed to raise £5.1m to survive. To find out how you can help please visit or call 01325-487263.

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