Why we fly

David H’s Story

“Not for one moment did I think I would need the air ambulance in the circumstances that I did. What a fantastic free service it provides. I feel very lucky that my injuries weren’t more serious and the helicopter was there for me should I have needed to be flown to a different hospital,” he says.


Leicester builder and lifelong motorcyclist Dave Hutchings (53) raised £200 for the local air ambulance by riding from John O’Groats to Land’s End in June 2017.

“I’ve been a keen biker since I was old enough to get a licence and with the number of miles I do, I thought the chances were I might – but obviously hoped I wouldn’t – need their services one day,” he says.

How ironic it is then that within a year of completing the 880 miles trip in just 17 hours, Dave was treated by the crew of Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland Air Ambulance after an accident which had nothing to do with his motorcycle.

Dave was chopping branches from the top of conifer trees in his neighbour’s garden in June 2018 when he fell off a ladder.

He crashed to the ground in an area of stinging nettles and branches. Despite being in excruciating pain and in shock he managed to get up and stagger to the lawn where he fell onto the ground and rolled from side to side in agony.

“On a scale of one to ten the pain was nine. I knew I had done something bad but was relieved that I could still move my hands and feet,” he says.

Dave lay on the ground for about an hour. He used his mobile phone to ask a friend to come and clear away all his tools and move his van from the neighbour’s drive, but didn’t want him to call the emergency services. It wasn’t until Dave’s wife Mel arrived on the scene an hour later that they called 999.

Within minutes an ambulance arrived and the air ambulance landed in nearby school playing fields in case Dave’s injuries meant he had to be flown to a specialist orthopaedic hospital.

But after being assessed and stabilised it was decided to take Dave by land ambulance to Leicester Royal Infirmary.

The air ambulance crew were so impressive and very professional. They were brilliant and arrived so quickly. I was put on a board for the drive to hospital and they stayed with me until we left.”

“I know the air ambulance is a charity and receives no government funding so I feel very guilty that they came to my rescue and then didn’t have to fly me to hospital. It proves that they really are there for you,” he says.

Dave sustained wedge fractures to two vertebrae and was kept in hospital for a day. He returned to work after six weeks and is now able to do his job despite ongoing back pain when standing or sitting still.