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‘I laid there thinking I was going to die – then an East Anglian Air Ambulance crew arrived’





A woman has told how an East Anglian Air Ambulance crew saved her life after she was thrown from a pony and smashed into a fence.

Hayley Bellchambers feared she was going to die when the pony bucked and she landed heavily, suffering injuries to her eye, liver, kidneys and ribs.

Hayley and her daughter are reunited with the crew. Picture: EAAA
Hayley and her daughter are reunited with the crew. Picture: EAAA

She recalled: “It was a Friday morning in January, and I was on my way to take my daughter to see a new pony when a freak accident occurred. My 14-year-old daughter, Charley, is autistic and suffers from severe anxiety. We were looking for a therapy pony to help with her wellbeing and mental health.

“I’ve been around horses all my life and after riding around the ring several times I was asked if I could take the pony into a canter.

“This was when things started to go wrong and the pony got out of control, bucking and running around the ring.

Hayley’s daugter benefitted from seeing the crew following the accident. Picture: EAAA
Hayley’s daugter benefitted from seeing the crew following the accident. Picture: EAAA

“I was thrown over the front of the horse, bashing my right side on the fence before landing heavily on the ground on my left hand side, I lay there motionless.

“I thought I was going to die. I just lay there thinking I’m going to die. I’m going to die. Then I heard my daughter, Charley, shouting ‘Mummy! Mummy!’”

WIthin 18 minutes, a crew from the East Anglian Air Ambulance were by her side.

“It was Anglia Two crew Dr Rishi, critical care paramedic Joe and pilots Matt and Andy who were on shift that day and came to my rescue,” Hayley said.

Dr Rishi recalled: “When we arrived on scene it was clear that Hayley had suffered a bad injury to her right eye from striking the fence, broken ribs and internal bleeding, which meant it was increasingly difficult for her to breathe.

Hayley has urged people to support the air ambulance charity. Picture: EAAA
Hayley has urged people to support the air ambulance charity. Picture: EAAA

“From our initial assessment, we believed she had also suffered severe damage to her liver and kidneys.

“CCP Joe and I administered advanced pain relief and splinted Hayley’s injuries. She also required an immediate blood and plasma transfusion, which was essential for her surviving the journey to the hospital.”

Following the incident in the Suffolk village of Baylham, Hayley was flown to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, where she spent two nights in intensive care, followed by five days in high dependency and seven days on a ward.

“Some of it is a blur and I struggle to piece things together, but I do remember just missing my children,” said Hayley.

“I didn’t see them for nine days. Before the accident I had never spent a night away from my children so that was really challenging.

“My recovery has gone well but I did struggle with my mental health in those early days, but therapy really helped.”

The EAAA aftercare team has since arranged for Hayley and her children to visit the crew who saved my life.

Hayley Bellchambers and her daughter visited the crew who saved her in Cambridge. Picture: EAAA
Hayley Bellchambers and her daughter visited the crew who saved her in Cambridge. Picture: EAAA

“We visited the Cambridge base in November last year and it has been amazing for both me and Charley, as she witnessed the whole incident,” noted Hayley.

“Having autism means Charley struggles to show her emotions and process how she feels, but I think this experience has been good for her and it feels like a bit of closure.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the care EAAA gave me, I don’t think I would be here without them. I cannot thank Rishi, Joe, Matt and Andy enough for saving my life.”

Hayley Bellchambers and her daughter visited the crew who saved her in Cambridge. Picture: EAAA
Hayley Bellchambers and her daughter visited the crew who saved her in Cambridge. Picture: EAAA

She urged people to support East Anglian Air Ambulance, which relies on donations to help save more lives.

Visit eaaa.org.uk/support-us/make-a-donation if you can help.



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