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Thursday, 20 November 2014

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Helmet saves Carlisle dad's life during high-speed bike crash

A dad who miraculously survived a high-speed mountain bike crash says a helmet and backpack saved his life.

Gordon Steele photo
Gordon Steele, front, with wife Kim, and friends Andrew Palmer, back centre, and Derrick Boyd

Gordon Steele, of Kingstown Road, Carlisle, was hurtling downhill on his bike at speeds of up to 35mph when he slipped and flew over the handlebars.

His head smashed onto the ground and he rolled uncontrollably down a steep-sided gully before finally stopping between rocks.

Gordon’s pals Derrick Boyd and Andrew Palmer rushed to his aid before managing to find a phone signal to alert the emergency services.

The Great North Air Ambulance was scrambled to the scene, between Newcastleton and Kielder Forest.

The 40-year-old was winched out of the gully with help from a local policeman and first responders, before being airlifted to hospital in Newcastle where he was found to have suffered neck and hip injuries.

Gordon, who works at Chivers Sports in Carlisle, has relived the harrowing ordeal.

“I just remember the front wheel slipping away and falling down a ravine,” he recalled. “The next thing I remember is waking up at the bottom and then drifting in and out of consciousness.

“I was later told I would be dead if I hadn’t been wearing a crash helmet and a backpack which protected my back.”

He also paid the ultimate tribute to his two lifelong friends for saving his life.

Gordon said: “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the quick actions of my school friends and the emergency services.”

Gordon returned to work after nearly 10 weeks recovering from his injuries, which included a broken hip socket and fractured hip bone.

He hailed his colleagues at the sports shop for their support.

“Everyone has been phenomenal,” he said.

Gordon also revealed the accident, in September, happened after he hadn’t been on a bike for three years.

“The bike was new but I’ve never touched it since – but I would never say never again,” he added.

Inspired by his recovery, Gordon’s wife Kim, who is expecting their second child, has raised £1,360 for the air ambulance charity, which is funded by donations.

Kim and her friend Rebecca Barwick held a raffle and sold cards while Carlisle business Karina’s Crafts sold crafts and also donated to the cause.

Their efforts were match funded by Kim’s employer Barclays bank.

She said: “You never know when you will need the air ambulance. I didn’t think someone so close to me would, so it inspired me to help.

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