Sam Beecroft was riding his motorbike to work when a horror crash left him paralysed from the chest down.

The 21-year-old, from Morpeth, was riding his motorbike along the B6524, Morpeth, when he crashed into a nearby fence. He sustained a serious spinal injury and was treated by our doctor and paramedic team.

The incident

Sam was on his way to work as a baggage handler at Newcastle Airport, when a bird hit the right-hand side of his helmet while driving in Morpeth, causing him to crash into a fence.

“I think I got knocked out. I remember waking up and there was a young girl who worked for Easy Jet. She said, ‘are you alright?’ and I said ‘no a bird’s hit my face and I cannot feel my legs’.” said Sam.

Both the North East Ambulance Service and the Great North Air Ambulance Service attended the scene.

The aftermath

The freak accident left Sam with a T3 spinal cord injury and he is now paralysed from the chest down, but still has the use of his arms and hands.

Sam had sustained a T3 spinal cord injury, meaning he is now paralysed from the chest down.

He was assessed and treated by our paramedic and doctor team before being taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle by a land ambulance accompanied by our doctor Chris Johnson.

“I was about 8mm from breaking my neck, so in that respect I’m quite lucky that I didn’t.” said Sam. “The doctor who came from the air ambulance is probably the one who actually saved my life. In particular I think he knew what was wrong and what could be helped to make sure the injury didn’t get any worse.”

Chris added: “Sam was in an ambulance when we arrived on scene. I had to climb through a few hedges to get from where we were able to land to see him. I assessed him and discovered he had a spinal cord injury so rather than risk excessive movement through the hedges to get him back to the aircraft we took him by road to the RVI major trauma centre. He was stable en route and awake so didn’t need much critical care intervention, just monitoring for complications of his spinal cord injury.”

The recovery

Sam spent more than two weeks in the RVI before being transferred to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough for nearly three months of rehab and physiotherapy.

He still has use of his arms and hands and has got back on a bike since his crash.

Sam even took part in the Inter-Spinal Unit Games at Stoke Mandeville in 2018.


Following Sam’s crash, a group of fundraisers, known as the Toon to Town Challenge Group including Sam’s dad Ian, organised a 457 mile bike ride to raise money for both GNAAS and Sam.

The group then held a black-tie dinner which was attended by Will Clark, who was also treated by GNAAS after he sustained a spinal injury when he fell from his bike at Thirlmere in 2012.

The incident left Will paralysed from the neck down. He has since become a volunteer for GNAAS and delivers presentations about the charity to the local community.

Giles Evans, the founder of Toon to Town, said: “It was a superb night. You couldn’t hear a pin drop when Will spoke, and as a result it was a very successful evening.”

Sam's story

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