FAMILY of an 11-year-old girl seriously injured in a riding accident have paid glowing tribute to the air ambulance which went to her aid.
Emilia Mercer – known as Millie – was out riding with her family at Sawley, near Clitheroe in Lancashire, when she came off her pony.
A hoof landed with full force on her jaw, shattering the bone and leaving the youngster – from Cowling, near Keighley – in severe pain.
A crew from the North West Air Ambulance was alerted and quickly arrived on the scene, administering morphine to help relieve the pain.
Millie was taken by land ambulance to Airedale General Hospital, in Steeton, and then transferred to the Bradford Royal Infirmary.
She underwent surgery on her jaw during her hospital stay.
She also had three of four teeth lost in the accident replanted.
Millie’s mum, Faye, was with her daughter at the time of the accident.
She said: “The fall and crush from the pony was terrifying to witness.
“It’s a parent’s nightmare to see your child in pain and not be able to do anything to help them, so watching the air ambulance charity arrive on scene was such a relief.
“They handled the situation with such compassion and empathy, calming Millie and supporting us all.
“My husband is a vascular surgeon at Bradford Royal Infirmary and has been a long-time supporter of North West Air Ambulance, but to see them in action really puts what they do into perspective.”
Millie has recovered well from her ordeal.
The family has pledged to do what it can to help the air ambulance charity.
Faye added: “We’re just so grateful for the care, professionalism and wonderful help of the crew that day.
“We’ll be doing all that we can to raise money.
"We hosted an equestrian event with the stables where Millie’s accident happened and raised around £600.
"Anything we can do to give back and keep the air ambulance in the skies is our goal.”
The family has spoken publicly about the incident – which happened in July – and the help Millie was given, to coincide with the awareness-raising National Air Ambulance Week.
Paramedic Martin Booth, who was part of the crew which went to Millie’s aid, said: “When patients experience traumatic events as Millie did, reaching them quickly is of paramount importance to help ease their pain and make sure they can get to the most appropriate treatment centre.
“We are so pleased that Millie’s making a great recovery and we’re grateful for the family’s support, as it means the service will continue to be there for other patients who need us.”
lThe organisers of National Air Ambulance have thanked everyone who supported this year's initiative.
A spokesman said: "It was a very successful week, focussing a spotlight on the incredible lifesaving work of the UK’s 21 air ambulance charities and the highly advanced hospital-level critical care they deliver directly to the side of the most critically injured or ill, when every second counts towards survival.
Find out more Our aim is to bring together global-leading clinical and aviation expertise and world-class businesses and organisations to drive innovation, development and funding for air ambulance charities, enabling them to save even more lives every day across the UK."