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Just before his 40th birthday, keen motorcyclist Neil Bell was involved in a freak accident which would affect his life forever.

Although he was travelling on his motorcycle at low speed, he still needed the services of the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance, for he had suffered a broken collarbone, broken hand and broken ribs along with chest, lung and head injuries.

It was early October and Neil and his friends were attending the MCN Live motorcycle show at Butlins, Lincolnshire. Looking forward to the weekend ahead, the group collected their chalet keys and got back on their bikes with the intention to ride slowly through the grounds to their accommodation.

Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance respond

What happened next was an incredible stroke of bad luck. Because he was travelling at walking pace towards the chalets, Neil had not put his helmet on.  He hit a speed ramp which threw him off balance and he fell backwards, opening up the bike throttle in the process.  As a result, the bike flipped up and landed on top of him.

Due to the severity of his injuries the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance were called. It arrived in rapid time from its base. Neil was largely unconscious and says that he cannot really remember the accident, but that he was aware help was on its way.

“Friends have told me that at some point the doctors and paramedics gave me an injection on scene and I jumped up thinking I was perfectly fine. Apparently, it took several people to hold me down,” said Neil.

Neil was airlifted to hospital and stayed in intensive care for several days.

He remembers a few strange incidents as he began to become fully awake.

“I kept calling my wife at work to ask for my shaver. I had simply forgotten that I’d already called a while earlier with the same request!  Another time, I accused my family of eating a box of chocolates, forgetting that I’d already shared them with them!

When Neil was discharged and back home, he continued to struggle with his memory and even now, twelve years later his memory is still affected and there are things he finds difficult to recall.

Making a difference to a patient’s story

Neil will be eternally grateful to the skill and dedication shown by the team of the Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance and says:

“It is just an essential part of medical provision. It’s such a huge benefit to be able to be airlifted because clearly, I don’t know if I’d have survived. The speed at which the helicopter gets there makes a huge difference to the recovery of that patient.”

Following the accident, Neil’s wife told him to hang up his motorbike helmet and stop riding. But that was never going to happen. As an avid biker, Neil could not contemplate the thought of not being able to ride again and she finally agreed to him getting another bike so he could enjoy his passion.

Twelve years since the accident, Neil still enjoys riding. But today, he is much more conscious of how he rides, making safety paramount.

Neil now lives in Wilford Village, Nottingham and has recently started riding for Notts Blood Bikes. This vital organisation in Nottinghamshire provides an emergency transport service to the NHS, delivering blood and other urgent medical items between hospitals in and around the county. Neil can be spotted wearing his ‘hi-viz’ livery and manoeuvring his bike between traffic, ensuring the delivery of items urgently in order to help save a patient’s life. One of the many jobs he can be called upon to do is to collect unused plasma from the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance.

As he says, it is a small payback for what was done for him twelve years ago.