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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Cumbrian boy meets air ambulance team who saved his life after roof fall

A 14-year-old boy left with four fractures to his skull after he plunged 25ft through the roof of a derelict garage has met the crew of the air ambulance who saved him.

Robbie Girdler roof fall boy photo
Robbie Girdler and pilot Jay Steward

Robbie Girdler was nine when he fell through the roof at Abbeytown while playing with friends.

He owes his life to the air ambulance crew who stabilised him and got him quickly to a Newcastle hospital for life-saving surgery.

Robbie, a pupil at Nelson Thomlinson School in Wigton, last week met the crew of the Great North Air Ambulance Service which played such a crucial role in saving his life following the accident in August 2008.

His mother Leanne Walsh, 43, told how on day of the accident she had been ironing at home while Robbie played on land nearby in Laurel Terrace, with friends.

“I got a call to say that Robbie had fallen from a building,” she said.

“My friend’s husband took me up there, and when I arrived at the derelict garage where it happened I could hear Robbie moaning. It was horrible – the worst experience of my whole life.

“There was blood coming from his ears, and his eyes were rolling. They put him into an induced coma, saying that was the only chance for his survival.”

Leanne said that Robbie had a baby pigeon in his coat, and he may have been trying to rescue it when he fell.

At hospital, she and her partner Michael Girdler, 46, were warned to prepare themselves for the worst.

When Robbie arrived at Newcastle General Hospital in a critical condition, he was put on a ventilator.

The fall had left him with four skull fractures which were so serious he had to have a metal plate fitted to replace the shattered bone. Medics warned Robbie’s family that if he did survive it was likely that he would be unable to walk or talk.

Incredibly, despite the severity of his injury, Robbie made an astonishing recovery, defying the grim expectations of the medical experts.

Though his concentration and emotions have been affected, he has been able to resume his schooling, and enjoy life.

“He’s determined with everything that he does,” said Leanne.

“He can talk normally, walk normally, and though we don’t what’s going to happen in the future he loves cars and he loves photography. He doesn’t remember the building where he fell but he remembers waking up in hospital. The doctors and nurses were absolutely fantastic.

“He was in intensive care for just over a week and in hospital for a month.

“He was able to go back to school in October in the year of his accident. He knows that the air ambulance crew saved his life and he couldn’t wait to take pictures of them when they came to see him.”

Michael, who works at Innovia Films in Wigton, has helped raise more than £5,000 for the Great North Air Ambulance with his brother and friends. Leanne said the whole family – including Robbie’s sisters Kirsty, 15, and Siobhan, 22 – rallied round.

In 2009, the owner of the derelict garage, Roland Hill (Parsonby) Ltd ,was fined £1,250 after admitting failing to act on requests from Allerdale council to renovate the building.

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