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Child falls over cliff on family holiday to Cornwall

Child falls over cliff on family holiday to Cornwall

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 5:40pm 2nd April 2019.

A dad has told Pirate FM how their family holiday to Cornwall turned into "every parent's worst nightmare" when his son fell over a cliff.

Five-year-old Harry was bounding towards Trevone Beach when he went six metres over the edge and onto rocks below.

He landed on his bodyboard and suffered a serious head injury.

Luckily Cornwall Air Ambulance managed to get him to hospital within minutes.

His parents are now supporting the Heli Appeal, which is fundraising for a new helicopter, to say thank you.

heli appeal harry

"I saw him disappear, I just dropped everything and ran. There were so many people that tried to help, he was clearly badly injured, but we didn't want to move him.

"Harry had a lump on the back of his head. At that point when he was still talking to us, we had no idea how bad his injury was."

Mum, Becky Bishop 

Several emergency services were called to the scene to help Harry, including a first responder, RNLI lifeguards and the Coastguard search and rescue team.

Cornwall Air Ambulance was tasked at 10.43am and landed nearby on the beach. Critical care paramedics Kris Lethbridge and Steve Garvey were with Harry in just 15 minutes.

heli appeal harry

"Harry had a significant head injury - when you injure yourself like that getting to a hospital quickly is vital; every minute matters.

"Although he was conscious it was clear that he was very unwell, so our main priority was to stabilise him to prevent further deterioration."

Kris Lethbridge, Cornwall Air Ambulance

With poor weather forecast, Harry had to be initially airlifted to Royal Cornwall Hospital where he spent three hours, before being transferred by the larger HM Search & Rescue helicopter to Bristol Children's Hospital for emergency surgery and further specialist treatment.

Doctors told the family to prepare for the worst, as they were unsure whether he would survive his injuries.

heli appeal harry

Becky said: "They asked if we wanted to say goodbye to him. I just held it together until they put him under. Because he was awake and saying his head hurt, I didn't think he was going to be anywhere near as bad as he was. I just kept thinking 'please live, please come back to us as the same little boy'."

Harry underwent a four-hour operation, which his parents were told could leave him with cognitive issues or personality changes. He spent the next 8 days in a coma and in the months that followed Harry had a titanium plate inserted to reconstruct the damaged part of his skull.

One year on from the accident and Harry has made a full recovery and is now helping to raise money for Cornwall Air Ambulance.

Becky added: "We were very lucky; it could have been a very different story. Harry is doing very well now and a lot of that is down to the responsiveness of the Cornwall Air Ambulance.

"We are wholly supporting the New Heli Appeal fundraising campaign as we believe that if the new, larger helicopter had been available on that day, we might have been able to go straight to Bristol Children's Hospital, so Harry could receive treatment even quicker than he did."

heli appeal harry

Harry's school, Bickley Primary School, is supporting Cornwall Air Ambulance as their favoured charity this year to say thank you for helping one of their pupils. They have a £5,000 fundraising target for the year and are almost half way there already.

Cornwall Air Ambulance launched the £2.5m New Heli Appeal in April last year.

With just 12 months to go to secure the faster and more powerful AW169 helicopter, the charity still needs to raise £1.4 million to reach the target.

 "As we enter the final year of the appeal we need the support of the people of Cornwall now more than ever to ensure we can bring the next generation of air ambulance helicopter that this county deserves.

"A year seems like a long time, but that equates to £27,000 a week that the charity has to raise to meet the target by 1 April 2020- so we still have a really long way to go. We urgently need more community groups, more businesses and more individuals to pledge their support in this very important year for the charity."

Amy Richards, New Heli Appeal Manager

Since the appeal launched in April 2018, the charity has raised just over £1.1 million.

More than £20,000 has come from the New Heli Heroes scheme, which give supporters the chance to have their name on the new helicopter.

You can find out more here.

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