On 27th June 2014 Sarah Layden and her partner Ryan Bradshaw were in Bestwood Park, Nottingham, riding their mountain bikes. It was the day before they were to head off to Wales for their much-anticipated holiday.
After a great day’s riding and jumping, with lots of photos and videos shot, they were on their way back home on a high. On the route home, they passed through an old quarry.
Ryan says: “Sarah being Sarah, she wanted to do a few more drop offs before going back for some grub. After a couple more drops she said the famous last and cursed words: ‘one last go’. In our experience of riding, saying this never ends well!”
Shooting over the ‘drop off’, a steep drop in the quarry, Sarah hit the bottom of the slope and flew her over the handlebars. She fell more than 30 feet as Ryan could only watch in horror.
Having run down the steep slope to her, panic set in and Ryan thought that Sarah was dead. He immediately placed her in the recovery position and she eventually gasped for air. She was unconscious, bleeding and hardly breathing.
A friend called 999 and due to Sarah being in the middle of a disused quarry with no access, the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance was dispatched.
Ryan added: “Our friend had to ride out of the quarry to the nearest road to direct the paramedics in on foot. Whilst he was gone it felt like the loneliest place on the planet. Only a few minutes later I could hear the helicopter arriving.
“Thank god for Bear Grylls! Because of this man’s wild programs, I knew I had to find a safe landing place for them and get high and visible so they could locate us. I waved them in, just like Bear would have done. Once landed they then took over and loaded Sarah into the helicopter.”
The Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance flew Sarah to Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham in just three minutes. She had suffered a traumatic brain injury and had to stay in hospital for over 4 weeks. Today Sarah still suffers from fatigue, but has been able to go back to work as a Community Nurse part-time.
Sarah says: “I am so grateful to the medical services who helped me that day. The Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance are amazing people, they got me to hospital in just 3 minutes. Without their help, I would have deteriorated and possibly died at the scene. Their services are irreplaceable and extremely important. I am forever in their debt and cannot thank them enough.”