A WOMAN who fell off her mountain bike while riding in a forest has thanked the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) for coming to her aid.
Hayley Crooks, 29, from Middlesbrough was riding the red trail in Whinlatter Forest, Keswick, with her then-fiancé Chris Crooks, when she fell on 8 July 2016.
Mr Crooks said: “It’s our favourite trail and I often ride first and get a video of Hayley coming down, but Hayley decided to go first to get a video of me. I waited five minutes or so and enjoyed the view and then I went round and found Hayley crumpled up at the side of the trail.”
Mr Crooks rang the emergency services and the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team (KMRT) arrived first on scene where it was decided they needed the assistance of GNAAS.
The paramedic and doctor team from GNAAS worked alongside North West Ambulance Service paramedics to assess and treat Mrs Crooks’ injuries before she was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle for further treatment.
Mrs Crooks had broken her nose, knocked two teeth out, degloved her bottom lip and damaged her lower jaw as well as compressed two vertebrae in her spine.
She spent four nights in the RVI and had surgery on her face including realigning her nose to help her breathe properly, and her bottom lip stitched up.
She said: “Thankfully GNAAS picked up on my back injury and my back was immobilised with a vacuum stretcher. I didn’t have front teeth for several months and I never really appreciated them until I lost them. Once I got my implants I had a celebratory corn on the cob.”
It took nearly a year for Mrs Crooks to recover and she only has a small scar on her nose as a reminder of the incident.
In September last year she married her partner and they managed to raise £610 for GNAAS after asking for donations instead of presents. They also gave guests GNAAS and KMRT pins as a memento.
Mrs Crooks, who is an advanced practitioner at the North East Ambulance Service, said: “I’ve always supported GNAAS, it is invaluable and having been a patient it’s made me see them from a different perspective. I’ve done the lottery for a number of years and we have complete admiration for everything they do. The service they provide is incredible and they help save so many people’s lives.”
Mrs Crooks has now ruled out mountain biking but still enjoys the great outdoors and has since climbed Scafell Pike, Helvellyn and Ben Nevis.
Last year GNAAS was called out 1062 times and needed to raise £5.1m. To find out how you can help, please visit www.gnaas.com or call 01325-487263.