BASSINGBOURN crash victim speaks of horror accident for the first time
PUBLISHED: 11:09 19 October 2011
A WOMAN who suffered horrifying burns to her face and hands when she was a child, in a Bassingbourn road accident which claimed the life of her younger brother, has spoken publicly of her ordeal for the first time in 24 years.
Sam Lyon was just seven years old in 1987 when the car she and her brother Anthony were travelling in was in collision with a lorry at a junction near the village.
And it was only when talking with her mother about her partner Dr Chris Targett’s plan to make a solo trip around the world for medical emergency charity Magpas, that she learned one of her rescuers was a Royston Magpas doctor.
The car was catapaulted into the air and burst into flames. Anthony, who was five, died instantly. Sam’s mother Cynthia Spillman, who was driving, and Sam were rescued from the burning vehicle by a passer-by.
Cynthia, 52, suffered superficial burns and a fracture, but Sam was severely burned and suffered a broken leg.
Sam, 31, of Sawtry, now a physiotherapist at Papworth Hospital, remembers very little about the incident which left her needing extensive plastic surgery.
Sam said: “I remember lying by the side of the road that day, but nothing else. I never knew Magpas came out that day. I mentioned to mum that Chris was doing this big trip and she said ‘That must be because of you.’ I had no idea Magpas had been there.
“This just seems the perfect chance to thank them and to raise awareness of what Chris is doing and the work they do.”
The passer-by who rescued Sam and her mother remains to this day unidentified. A couple who lived near the scene of the accident also came to help, as did a group of soldiers from Bassingbourn Barracks.
Dr John Hedges, a GP at Royston for 32 years and volunteer Magpas doctor for nearly 20 years, was the first medic on the scene.
He said: “When I arrived, I was faced with a seven-year-old girl in tremendous pain from the burns.
“I knew she needed pain relief, but one of the problems was that because of the burns, the normal sites for an intravenous injection were not possible.
“In that second, you have to make a quick decision. Afterwards watching the ambulance drive off, you are thinking ‘Did I do the right thing?’ I have a whole host of memories from that day. You always hope that you have done your best.”
Chris, 34, will be setting off on a 21,000 mile journey through Europe, Africa and Asia in February. He hopes to raise £100,000 for Magpas and African medical charity Riders for Health.