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Andy Braybrook, from Hough-on-the-Hill near Grantham, has thanked our crew for saving his life.

Engineer Andy, 33, had two cardiac arrests, his lungs collapsed and he fell into a coma after the collision on the A153, near Sleaford. But luckily our helicopter got him to the Queen’s Medical Centre about 50 miles away in just 15 minutes.

He said: “It was Saturday, 25 March 2017. I woke early to lend a hand to my brother, Chris. We hadn’t seen each other since Christmas and he needed help moving bits & bobs, so I offered to pop over to him in my van and lend a hand.

“The day started to brighten and warm up – I believe that that Saturday was the first fine weather day of 2017. My brother and I, both being motorbike riders, didn’t need much more of an invitation to go for ride out together. We both had 600cc Honda CBRs of similar ages. On this day we took them from Grantham to Tattershall, had a bite to eat and then headed back. By the time of our return journey, the sun had started to set and as we were riding West, the early spring sun was, unfortunately, setting low in the sky, directly in front of us. We both had helmets that were fitted with flick-down tinted sun visors, to make such riding easier.

“We were on the A153 and had just gone through Anwick when a vehicle turned across our path. My brother braked heavily and squirmed into the gap the car had created on the left-hand side of the road, whereas I went right and did not have the same luck. I struck the rear quarter of the vehicle, directly in line with the rear alloy wheel. My brother recalls looking in his wing mirror to see me cartwheeling through the air as I travelled over the top of the car, over the bonnet, and then come to a crumpled halt on the road.

“A passer-by notified the emergency services and before long my brother was shielding me from the down draught of the Air Ambulance helicopter, using his bike jacket to protect me from the crop dust and road grit.

At the roadside I suffered two cardiac arrests and both of my lungs collapsed and started to fill with blood. I was in the deepest level of coma possible (stage 3). I also required a blood transfusion owing to the amount of blood I was losing through my top lip which had been the point of impact between myself and the vehicle.

The speed of the helicopter saved Andy’s life

“I have been told it took just fifteen minutes to get me from the scene of the accident, 5 miles east of Sleaford, to QMC in Nottingham, a journey that would take a road-going ambulance a minimum of 1 hour 15 minutes. It is this speed, coupled with the expertise and capabilities of the air ambulance crew that saved my life.

“I spent the next nine months in hospital, six of which were spent in the specialist spinal unit in Sheffield. I was finally discharged from Grantham Hospital on 22 December 2017.

“I suffered a complete C5 – C7 spinal injury in the accident meaning I am paralysed from the armpits down with no movement or sensation from my chest down. I’m lucky to be able to move my arms with the level of injury I have sustained, but I have no real movement in my fingers. Again I am very lucky as the first two weeks I spent in QMC, doctors were preparing my family and my partner for the worst.

“I am also nearing the two-year anniversary of my accident and have come a long way since being discharged. I have had a lightweight rigid frame chair from my local wheelchair services, my home, which I had only just purchased three months prior to the accident, is becoming wheelchair accessible; I am waiting for building work to start on a downstairs wet room.

“The biggest recent progress has been in the form of an adapted vehicle which I have leased through the motability scheme. It has a push/pull hand control for accelerator/brake, a tetra grip on the steering wheel that I don’t even need to grip, just simply position my hand in, and an adapted control on my handbrake. Getting back on the road has done the world of good for my mental health as I have become a little more independent. I am looking at returning to work also now I have my adapted vehicle.

“I can’t thank enough the crew and personnel involved with keeping the air ambulance operational. Not only did they save my life, but they stopped the world from pausing for my family and loved ones too. So please, please donate to this life-saving charity, as life as you know it, for you or your loved ones, can change in the twinkling of an eye.”