A farmer savagely attacked by a bull was treated with life-saving equipment bought by readers of The Cumberland News.

Paul Halliwell, 47, suffered serious injuries after a bull rammed him in the chest and flung him across a feed barrier onto a concrete floor.

“I’ve never been in so much pain in all my life,” said Mr Halliwell, who later found out he had cracked four ribs and chipped his spine in three places.

Even though he was in agony, Mr Halliwell, who farms with his parents near Blackford, Carlisle, told his mum Sue not to call the ambulance as he’d be fine.

“I’ve never been in a hospital in my life,” he said.

Fortunately, Sue Halliwell, 75, and her husband Eric, 74, decided to call anyway and soon first responders, ambulance paramedics and the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) arrived.

The trauma team from the GNAAS were anxious to get Mr Halliwell away from the bull, which was getting increasingly agitated in his pen.

Once outside in the yard, the team used an ultrasound device to check whether Paul Halliwell’s lung was inflated.

This device was one of two which were bought following a campaign by The Cumberland News last year.

The aim of the SkyCall Appeal, held as the paper celebrated its 200th anniversary, was to raise £20,000 for two ultrasound devices, one for the GNAAS helicopter and one for its emergency response car.

Donations generously flooded in and we reached our target by May – seven months ahead of schedule. We then decided to raise a further £40,000 for two defibrillators, which were importantly lighter and newer than the ones already carried on board.

Weight of GNAAS equipment matters a lot, not only because increased weight uses more fuel, but also because the crews often have to carry the kit up mountains and over long distances.

The support for the SkyCall Appeal was overwhelming. More than 150 individuals, businesses, schools and community groups backed it and donated thousands of pounds.

People raised money by running and walking half marathons, hosting balls, parties, raffles and auctions, and generously giving from their own pockets.

The ultrasound devices in particular have made a real difference because the GNAAS didn’t carry them on board before.

Dr Theo Weston, of GNAAS, said: “They are a fantastic piece of kit, not in the least because they are so small and so compact they add so little weight to us carrying them out to patients.

“In particular they are an invaluable diagnostic tool to help us improve our care for patients on the roadside.”

The handheld devices had already helped more than 50 patients suffering from chest injuries, internal bleeding and cardiac arrests by December.

Dr Weston said they are now almost always used to quickly diagnose patients suffering from chest injuries or heart problems.

As in Mr Halliwell’s case, the ultrasound is often used to see if people’s lungs have collapsed. If this is the case, medics can perform a surgical procedure there and then.

Timing is often very important in trauma cases; if patients can be quickly diagnosed and treated at the roadside, they should suffer less serious consequences.

Mr Halliwell’s lungs were working fine, but the GNAAS decided to take him to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary because of his other injuries.

Mr Halliwell flew for the first time when the helicopter transferred him to hospital after the accident on Saturday, July 11, last year.

He doesn’t remember flying or any part of the accident after being flung over the barrier.

This week he had the chance to see the entire rescue on television as it was broadcast as part of Air Ambulance ER.

Mr Halliwell said it was weird seeing himself in the helicopter.

He said: “It’s interesting because I don’t remember any of it. I have never been on holiday, on a train or boat or aircraft of any sort.”

Both Mr Halliwell and his parents wanted to thank both the GNAAS crew and the staff at the RVI for their fantastic care.

The RVI discharged Mr Halliwell four days after he was admitted – on the condition that he didn’t work for two months.

However, he was back at work within a week, doing bits and pieces on the family farm where the Halliwells have about 300 Ayrshires.

Nearly a year on Mr Halliwell has made a good recovery, although he said he would probably never be 100 per cent.

He said: “I can tell when I have done too much because [my back] starts aching a bit.”

The bull that attacked Mr Halliwell – as he was trying to get a cow out of its pen – had been bred on the farm and had not shown any signs of aggression before.

Although it was taken off to market two days after the accident, the Halliwells do still keep bulls and Mr Halliwell still looks after them... although he is a little more cautious around them than he used to be.