After DSAA helped him, Richard Jenkins decided to give something back by sharing his story with others...

I was driving on my way home through Compton Dundon, after accompanying the school choir in a Christmas carol service in Somerton. It was quite a grey afternoon and although I don’t remember it being particularly wet, I have been told that the weather was pretty nasty. The next thing I remember was being in the air ambulance and someone explaining that I was going to be ok, but I had been involved in an accident.

I still don’t remember much at all, as I had blacked out. Evidently, I had driven down around the bend at the bottom of the slope coming down from the crossroads; this is a notorious black spot for accidents. I obviously overshot the bend and overcompensated with my steering. This sent me off the road, scraping 15 metres along the nearside privet hedge, through a solid oak gatepost and then sideways into another gatepost and adjoining wall. Fortunately, no one else was involved in the accident.

Moments later, a kind person who was driving the other way stopped to help me. After ringing 999, they stayed with me until the emergency services arrived. I believe an ambulance, fire engine, police and the air ambulance came to my aid.

The fire service had to cut me out of the car and Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance airlifted me to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton. I was in and out of consciousness, but I do remember the team being very kind and I absolutely knew that I was in safe hands!

I was incredibly lucky, escaping with only a broken shoulder blade, collar bone, a few ribs, a non-crucial vertebra in my neck and a pretty swollen head. All my injuries were on the right-hand side of my body and I had double vision for a while due to hitting my head.

I spent one week in hospital recovering and needed physiotherapy for my breathing due to my broken ribs. I had to return to hospital a couple of weeks later, for an operation to have a titanium plate fitted to my collar bone. Fortunately, my recovery was very straightforward; I was even back playing the piano (although tentatively and slightly restricted) within one month. However, playing the violin took me a little longer.

As I had suffered such a whack to the head, it took a few months for my vision to reunify and I also had some sessions with an osteopath to help my shoulder. However, for all intents and purposes, I was pretty much fully functioning again within three months, which was amazing considering that several people had seen the aftermath of the accident and had predicted the worst.

Every year, I always think about the accident in that first week of December. This year, it coincided with me being in touch with the charity regarding their lottery, which I have taken part in for several years. I am amazed to know how much it costs every time the air ambulance is called out, so I have always wanted to give something back. The lottery is one way of doing that, but I also try to raise awareness of their life-saving work whenever I can.

I have always been grateful to Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance for their help on that day, but when I saw a recent Facebook post asking people to share their experiences, I decided that I could make a difference even more, by sharing mine.

NEXT: Hayley's Story

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