John Sheard

Type of Incident: Road Traffic Collision
Time: 16:35
Date: 30th June 2011
Location: Chichester
Vintage car enthusiast John Sheard had been to an auction preview at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and was on his way home.

As he rounded a bend on the A285 near Chichester he collided head-on with an oncoming vehicle.

He bore the brunt of the impact and was trapped in his VW Golf for about an hour. The driver of the other car escaped unhurt.

Sussex Air Ambulance Chief Pilot, Captain Steve Wood, arrived within 31 minutes and landed in a nearby field.

Dr Fred van Damme and critical care paramedic David Wright then helped firefighters extricate John who suffered head, leg and arm injuries.

They administered an emergency anaesthetic at the road-side – a skill usually performed in hospital – and gave him pain relief.

Dr van Damme said: "When we got to John, his car was severely damaged and he was trapped so we had to wait for the firemen to cut him out before we could get to him.

"He had a broken arm and was agitated so we made sure he was stable and we put a cannula in to give him some fluids.”

John was airlifted to the major trauma centre at King’s College Hospital in London in 36 minutes – a journey that would have taken an hour-and-a-half by road.

Doctors at the hospital were considering amputating his right arm but it was successfully repaired and saved by consultant Mark Phillips.

John, from Farnham, was later transferred to the Royal Surrey County Hospital and was finally allowed home after 12 weeks.

He went on to make a full recovery and on the first anniversary of his accident, family and friends threw a party to celebrate his survival.

In July, 2012, he met Fred and David for the first time since his accident and presented a cheque for £2,635 which was raised by John’s fellow members of the Frazer Nash Car Club.

He said: "I don’t remember anything about what happened at all, it’s just a complete blank in my life.

"As days have gone by I’ve found out more and more about the accident and it wasn’t until about a year later that I discovered I was trapped for about an hour.

"I just can’t believe I survived, I’m a very, very lucky man and I’m incredibly grateful to everyone involved.”