Why we fly

Peter’s Story

Peter Corbett nearly died when his car crashed during a banger racing event at Buxton Raceway.

When the collision happened in 2009 he was nine times track champion and known as “Mr Buxton”. Nowadays his nickname is “Mr Air Ambulance” as he has devoted all his spare time since the crash to raising funds for and awareness of the charity he credits with saving his life.

In 2014 Peter, from Buxton, was nominated for a Pride of Britain fundraiser award for the voluntary work he does for Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance (DLRAA).

“Reaching the area finals was as good as winning a championship race,” he says.

At the end of June, Peter is retiring from his job as a quarry site supervisor and is looking forward to having more time to devote to being a volunteer for the local air ambulance.

“Like 90 per cent of the country I used think that the air ambulance was a just a helicopter, but having been rescued by it I know the difference it makes to people’s lives – not just the patients but their families.”

“I believe the air ambulance should be called the fourth emergency service, not the other AA that helps motorists when their cars breakdown!” he says.

Peter (59) had been banger racing as a hobby for 26 years when the collision happened during a figure of eight race. His car crashed with another at the cross over point, tipped on to its side and was hit on the roof by the other vehicle.

He was cut out of the car and a land ambulance attended the scene. He was assessed by paramedics who rated his condition at level 3 – the lowest possible – on the Glasgow Coma Scale which records the level of consciousness of a person after a brain injury.

He had broken 15 bones in his neck, shoulder, ribs and wrist; sustained two punctured lungs and had a ruptured aorta in his neck.

When DLRAA arrived on the scene, the air ambulance doctor put Peter into an induced coma, inserted chest drains and re-inflated his lungs.

He was flown to Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester where he underwent vascular surgery to repair his aorta and was kept in a coma for 10 days.

Peter’s broken bones were left to mend naturally and he was off work for 14 months. He never raced again and was unable to continue doing the manual job he had before the accident.

“The air ambulance saved my life. If I’d been taken to hospital by road I could have been killed if there was a sudden jolt that affected one of the fractures in my neck. Also I was losing a lot of blood and the local A&E didn’t have a blood bank,” he says.

Peter’s family were – and still are- so grateful to the local air ambulance that a year after the accident his two daughters Emma and Rebecca organised a fun run at Buxton Raceway to raise money for the charity.

Then Peter and a group of friends took part in a sponsored event travelling from Land’s End to John O’Groats in two Robin Reliant cars.

Peter is a volunteer community speaker and uses his first-hand experience of being a patient to promote the lifesaving work of DLRAA. He is also responsible for 40 collection boxes in his area and takes part in other fundraising events.

His daughters have recently raised over £2,500 for the local air ambulance by taking part in a marathon and tandem parachute jump.