A father-of-two from Chulmleigh has thanked the Devon Air Ambulance after crews saved his life when he fell from a tree.
Train driver Matt Hannam, 42, slipped and fell in his garden in rural Riddlecombe on May 16, 2018, breaking five vertabrae and three ribs, and injuring his head.
Now nearly a year on, Matt has only just returned to work and said the outcome could have been very different if not for the air ambulance's quick response.
To support Matt, Torrington Silver Band – of which he is a member – is organising a fundraising concert for theDevon Air Ambulance Trust (DAAT) to mark a year since his accident.
And during the interval, Matt's 14-year-old son Kieran, who also plays the cornet, will be shaving his head to help raise funds too.
Although he is 'back to 90 per cent', Matt's recovery has been a long road which has brought the whole family together.
Remembering the accident, Matt said he had climbed up to finish putting the roof onto a treehouse he had built his son.
“It had been raining, but I thought it had dried out,” he said.
“But as I climbed up there I pushed myself up on a branch which I didn't realise was still wet, and I lost my footing.
“I fell backwards, smashed my head and knocked myself out, and then fell about 20-feet, hitting the incinerator and landing on the patio. I woke up in a pool of blood and though, 'oh, that hurt'.
“I actually then got up and thought I better have a shower and wash off the blood.”
As he walked to the bathroom, Matt took a turn for the worse and dialled 999. Within a couple of minutes the air ambulance landed in the field behind his house.
He was rushed to Derriford where a scan revealed the extent of his injuries. He was also temporarily paralysed down one side of his body.
For the next four months, Matt's had to use a wheelchair for any longer distances as he unerwent physio to repair his injuries.
His wife Carla, 36, said: “It's really brought us all together as a family. The air ambulance is an amazing thing to have and we're really, really lucky. I think you just don't realise how important it is until you need it.”
The Silver Band fundraising concert will be on May 18, at Howe Concert hall, Torrington. Doors at 7pm for 7.30pm start. Entry is £5 for the DAAT.
Laura Cooper, of the band, said: “We are delighted to host this event and support the Devon Air Ambulance.
“The service they provide is spectacular. No one knows when they may need it and we are so lucky to have it available to us.
“We are so thankful for what they did for Matt, without them the outcome could have been unimaginable.”
You can also donate to Kieran's head shave during the concert at https://bit.ly/2IFxKR9.