‘I feel so lucky’ - Woman narrowly avoids serious injury after traffic collision sends car crashing through Little Plumstead pub

The Citroen which crashed into the Brick Kilns Pub and Restaurant in Norwich. We have blurred out th

The Citroen which crashed into the Brick Kilns Pub and Restaurant in Norwich. We have blurred out the car's number plate. - Credit: Archant

Pensioner Val Graham had just finished her fish and chips when an 'explosion like a bomb' sent her flying onto the table.

The retired BT worker, of Cromer Road, Hellesdon, said she felt 'lucky to be alive' after a crash outside caused a car to plunge through the walls of the Brick Kilns Pub and Restaurant, on Norwich Road, in Little Plumstead, Norwich.

John Linden, of Norfolk Urban Search and Rescue, said Ms Graham could have been seriously injured had it not been for some bollards outside which slowed down the car just before the impact.

The incident happened at around 9.15pm last night (Friday), when a silver Vauxhall Corsa and a dark-blue Citroen collided at the junction of Norwich Road, which sent the Citroen careering into the pub.

The Citroen contained only the driver while there were four people in the Vauxhall. No one was badly injured.

Ms Graham said: 'I was sitting at the table talking to my friend and all of a sudden there was this massive explosion.

'I thought it was a bomb, the bang was intense. The force of the impact laid me across the table.'

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Thankfully Ms Graham escaped with just bruising, but had she chosen to sit in the vacant chair next to her the story could have had a very different outcome.

'I was shaken, bruised, and the chair I had sat in was covered in glass and debris from the impact.

'I just feel so lucky. Afterwards everyone in the pub was saying 'you were so lucky'.

'You don't expect to go out for a meal and then nearly get hit by a car coming through the wall.'

She thanked the emergency services and said their response was quick and described her treatment as amazing.

Norfolk Police and East of England Ambulance Service were both at the scene, as were Norfolk Fire and Rescue crews from Sprowston and Wroxham fire stations.

They called a Dereham-based team from Norfolk Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), who helped ensure the building was structurally safe after the incident.

The pub remained open as customers were moved to another part of the building.

Mr Linden, a member of the USAR team, said: 'Had it not been for the bollards slowing down the car then we would have had a more serious incident.'

His team were part of a crew which worked on the pub until 1.30am.

'It caused damage to the brickwork and front window, but the pub should be able to be open throughout the bank holiday weekend,' he added.

The pub is situated on the corner of the Norwich Road/Salhouse Road crossroad.

Pub owner Paul Anderson-Cowles said he had been petitioning for the council to improve safety at the cross roads for a number of years.

He installed bollards outside of his pub following a previous accident and believes it was because of them that no one was injured inside the pub.

'Because we have the bollards it reduced the impact, so people were not directly in danger. It stopped the car coming all the way in, or else it would have been a different story.

'These crossroads are so dangerous, they need a roundabout out there. They have put signs up, bit if people don't know the area, they just come straight across.'