Man recovering from adder bite in Norfolk hospital

The caretaker of a Broads pub who was bitten on the arm by an adder as he tried to remove the snake from where children were playing, says he would do the same again if he had to.

Gordon Hutchinson, 50, whose arm quickly ballooned to twice its size, was last night still being kept under observation at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital following the attack on Wednesday afternoon in a grassed seating area of the Broads Haven Tavern in Potter Heigham.

An adder bite is a rare occurrence - the NHS estimates that around 100 people are bitten by adders in the UK each year, but there have only been 14 reported deaths caused by adder bites since records began in 1876.

Mr Hutchinson has escaped any lasting damage though after being having his skin punctured between the thumb and index finger of his left hand by an adder around 30cms in length.

Pub landlord Kevin Hunt, who also runs the Maltsters in Ranworth, said: 'Gordon was clearing up glasses outside late in the afternoon when he saw the adder.

'Conscious that children were in the area, he decided to sneak up on it and grab it. However, it turned and bit him.

'The arm swelled up dramatically and he was quite obviously in severe pain, so rather than wait for an ambulance, my manager Rob Avery jumped in his car and took him straight to hospital where he was given anti-venom.'

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Mr Hutchinson, originally from Hartlepool, was kept in hospital for a second night last night but is hoping to return to the Broads Haven Tavern, where he lives, today.

Re-living the incident, he said: 'I saw it was near the kids and being a bright spark I thought I would try and get it away from them.

'One of our chefs said there was a snake out there and I thought he was winding me up, but then I saw it slithering around the side of the building.

'It was in full view so I thought I better go and get it.'

Initially Mr Hutchinson - who only began living and working at the Bridge Road pub just over a month ago - wanted to carry on working but soon had to be taken for medical treatment.

He was then kept in at the N&N overnight as a side-effect of the venom can cause a sufferer to have a fit.

Fortunately no such side effect occurred and he added: 'The morale of the story is don't get bitten! I would still do it again, because there were children around, but I would wear gloves.'

stephen.pullinger@archant.co.uk

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