A MOUNTAIN biker who was seriously injured after crashing in a forest has thanked the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) for coming to his aid.
Ivan Astbury, 55, from Bishopthorpe, York, was cycling through Hamsterley Forest, County Durham, with his son Matthew, 28, when he fell on August 27.
He had to be induced into a coma by the charity’s doctor-led team before he was airlifted to hospital.
As Matthew had gone on ahead, there were no witnesses to Ivan’s crash, so its cause is likely to remain a mystery.
Ivan said: “I don’t know what I did to fall off my bike, but the next thing I remember is waking up in hospital and wondering what had happened.”
At the time of the incident, Matthew was waiting for him to catch up some way down the trail. But when Ivan failed to make an appearance, Matthew turned back round and found his father lying on the ground.
He rang for the emergency services before ringing his mother, Sally Astbury, 52, to tell her the news.
Ivan sustained a broken scapula, a bleed on the brain, nerve damage to his eye, a dislocated finger, a broken shoulder blade, bruising to his jaw and face and other numerous cuts and bruises.
Mrs Astbury said: “On the phone Matthew said Ivan was talking so I thought he wasn’t going to be that bad. So when we found out Ivan had been put into an induced coma, it was a shock for both of us.”
The father-of-two spent six days in hospital but has made a good recovery, though due to the nerve damage in his eye, he remains unable to fully open his right eyelid.
Mrs Astbury added: “At the end of the day, I don’t know what would have happened if GNAAS weren’t there. I’ll always be indebted to these guys and I can’t thank them enough for their help.”
Ivan and Sally recently visited the GNAAS air base at Durham Tees Valley Airport and kindly donated £1,000 to the charity.
Grahame Pickering, chief executive of GNAAS, said: “We couldn’t continue to fly without this kind of generosity so we’d like to extend our gratitude to Ivan and his family for the donation.”
If fit and well by next year, Ivan plans to tackle the 20-mile route of the Hamsterley Beast off-road cycle ride with Matthew.
To sign up to the Hamsterley Beast, which takes place on May 13, 2018, sign up here: www.hamsterleybeast.com/entry
GNAAS needs volunteers to help the event run smoothly. For more information and to sign up, visit: www.greatnorthairambulance.co.uk/challenges/event_volunteer/