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‘Worst moment of my life’- Motorcyclist tells of life-changing crash

PUBLISHED: 11:00 24 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:28 24 March 2020

Charles Morris, left, who saved the life of Dave Woodhouse after he came off his motorbike on a quiet north Norfolk road. They were reunited at the East Anglian Air Ambulance's Norwich base. Credit EAAA

Charles Morris, left, who saved the life of Dave Woodhouse after he came off his motorbike on a quiet north Norfolk road. They were reunited at the East Anglian Air Ambulance's Norwich base. Credit EAAA

Archant

His life will never be the same after he suffered a spinal injury in a motorcycle accident on a Norfolk country road.

But if it was not for the quick thinking of a fellow road user, 29-year-old Dave Woodhouse would not be here at all.

Now the Cawston father-of-one has thanked Charles Morris, the driver who saved his life.

Mr Woodhouse, who has a three-year-old son, said: “I had never met him, but I would soon be eternally in this man’s debt for what was to be the worst moment of my life.”

He was in hospital for four months after the crash on March 15 last year.

A welder fabricator who worked in Cromer, Mr Woodhouse was riding near Briston in north Norfolk when it happened.

He was following a car, driven by Mr Morris, who lives locally. They were both travelling at 40-50mph but when they approached a bend not far out of the village, Mr Woodhouse lost control of his bike.

He said: “We came to one of many bends in the road that doesn’t require too much thought when you know the road. I naturally and instinctively leant over into the corner when my front wheel slipped, on what I presumed to be some loose gravel, to avoid crashing down on my left side.”

Mr Woodhouse managed to regain control but before he could come to a stop, he looked up to see “there was no road left”.

He said: “All I remember was seeing a verge and a tree which I was about to hit and aimed the bike at a thick hedgerow instead.”

Mr Woodhouse and his bike flipped off the road and landed 17ft away from the point of impact.

He found himself lying face down at the back of the hedge, out of sight of the road.

He said: “I tried with all my strength to drag myself through the hedge, but I was unable to move the lower half of my body.

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“I realised at this point I was probably in a bad way and had broken my legs. All I remember pain-wise was having a sore chest from where my body armour was digging in.”

Mr Morris, a former driving instructor who knew the road well, heard a scraping sound behind him and noticed the motorbike was no longer following him.

He turned back and drove slowly along the hedge shouting “hello” until he noticed the figure on the ground, and then called for help.

The East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) arrived within 15 minutes and cut away Mr Woodhouse’s clothes, armour and helmet, which was suffocating him.

He said: “They put me onto a spinal board, and I remember them being very kind and supportive when loading me on to the back of the helicopter. I jokingly asked if I could take it for a spin and was unfortunately denied.”

Sue Gee, the EAAA’s clinical liaison officer at East Anglian Air Ambulance, said getting Mr Woodhouse to hospital for treatment quickly had been crucial to save his life.

She said: “Dave’s story has been an inspiration to everyone at EAAA. He was determined his life was going to move forward and despite facing the fact he was unlikely to walk again, he remained positive and focused all his attention on his rehabilitation.”

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Mr Woodhouse spend three months at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and a further month at Sheffield Hospital’s spinal injuries unit.

He said medics had originally told him he could have faced a year in hospital.

He has been through extensive rehabilitation but Mr Woodhouse may never be able to walk again, and now uses a wheelchair to get around.

He said: “At first, my recovery seemed very daunting and being heavily medicated was scary. Thanks to my friends and family and ongoing support from the police and air ambulance, I was always very high in spirits and that, I believe, helped me heal fast.”

Mr Woodhouse said he was thankful to have been given a second chance at life, and now wanted to “give something back”.

He said: “I am hoping to work with the East Anglian Air Ambulance more and help raise the funds to do what they do best and raise awareness for them. Other than that, I am a man of simple pleasures and I look forward to my life with my little boy and future wife and a bit of cheeky video gaming in between.”


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