Farmer who lost arm urges support for air ambulance - The Leamington Observer

Farmer who lost arm urges support for air ambulance

Leamington Editorial 28th Aug, 2018 Updated: 28th Aug, 2018   0

A FARMER flown to hospital after having his arm ripped off in an agricultural accident is urging people to support Air Ambulance Week to keep lifesaving helicopters flying across the county.

The fund-raising initiative, running from September 8 to 16, is crucial to the continued existence of Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) which receives no government funding. Each lifesaving mission the charity flies costs £1,700.

Jim Chapman was only 23 when the accident happened on a farm at Brinklow Quarry near Rugby in 2005.

He was asked to empty water from underground storage tanks using a tractor and vacuum tanker. When no water was being sucked up he left the tractor engine running, got down from the cab and went to check the machinery.

The fluorescent safety vest he was wearing got caught and in a split second it was wrapped around a rotating shaft.

“I was flung from where I had been standing right over the top of the tractor. The shaft had ripped my shirt, jumper and my left arm completely off. I lay with my eyes closed and I knew I had lost my arm. I began to scream,” recalled the Long Itchington resident.

Jim was taken to Selly Oak Hospital by the air ambulance and has never forgotten how he felt when he knew it was coming to his rescue.

“It was the best sound I have ever heard in my life. I knew that help was on the way and the situation I found myself in was going to be sorted out. I was immediately put at ease by the kindness of the crew and the care I got was fantastic.”

It took just ten minutes to fly to hospital where he was rushed straight into the operating theatre. Unfortunately surgeons could not save his arm and Jim had to come to terms with facing the rest of his life with a prosthetic limb.

The accident proved to be life changing in more ways than one for the now 36-year-old who went on to become an ambassador for the Farm Safety Foundation, National Chairman of the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs and was awarded the MBE for services to farm safety in 2012.

Nowadays alongside running his farm Jim gives safety talks to the farming community around the UK.

“I relive my accident and the part the air ambulance played in it about ten times a year. I still vividly remember the noise of the helicopter when it came in to land and even now when it flies over I am immediately taken back to that day.”

Talking about his accident is a powerful way of conveying the importance of farm safety and Jim does not shy away from describing the experience in graphic detail.

He is also very keen to promote the vital part the air ambulance played in rescuing him and the speed at which the helicopter got him to the lifesaving medical treatment he needed.

Visit to get involved in Air Ambulance Week.


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