Every year in July, staff and cadets from 5F (Northampton)Sqn lend their support to the annual Hollowell Heavy Horse and Steam Rally by carrying out various roles such as marshalling and arena duties, litter picking, static and marching band displays and helping the organisers in general. We also have a PR and recruitment display tent.
Now in its 26th year, this charitable event is one of, if not the largest event of its kind in the country. All profits are given back to local deserving causes and up to 2011 in excess of £1,000,030.00 has been raised.
This year was no exception and although the weather was poor (mud glorious mud!!) everything was going as planned until Saturday afternoon when a serious situation unfolded. Whilst in the horse arena, a Shire horse was stung by an insect (in a rather delicate place) causing it to become very agitated, break free from its tether and bolt. The heavy horse, weighing over 1.5ton, broke through a fence into the spectator area where it caused some injuries to spectators before being caught and re-tethered.
Some of the first people on the scene were cadets from 5F who, once they had ensured their own safety proceeded to cordon off the area awaiting the arrival of the medics and first aiders from St John Ambulance. Two members of 5F staff (also SJA members) and an EMICS volunteer Doctor assisted the St John personnel in treating the casualties at the scene whilst the remaining staff and cadets marshalled crowds away and set up a sterile ‘runway’ from the incident to the top of the field for the 4×4 ambulance to use to move and transfer casualties to waiting land ambulances. Cadets also assisted the event organisers in cordoning off the large arena to enable the Air Ambulance to land safely.
Event organiser, Alan Eaton MBE said “The Air cadets & staff from 5F were brilliant as always. Each year the 5F Air Cadets support us and this year they showed true discipline whilst acting quickly to help us contain the situation. The shout went up from one of the marshals that we needed to cordon off an area and the cadets reacted immediately before we even told them what to do.”
“They were like a line of ants moving from their display area to calmly make a clear roadway for the 4×4 ambulance and to keep people back from the air ambulance landing area.”
“The help and assistance given by particular 5F staff at the actual incident and by the cadets and staff in containing the surrounding area was superb. They were calm, disciplined and got on with it.”
“They are a credit to their organisation.”
“We cannot thank them enough. They are highly thought of by the Rally organising committee.”
In total 5 people were treated and transferred to hospital with injuries ranging from multiple fractures of a leg to broken ribs, broken collar bones, various cuts and bruising. All are now recovering well.
Sgt Sam Dobbs from Northants police said the event’s health and safety officer had started an investigation. He said: “From our point of view, it seems to be an unfortunate accident. The horse is recovering in the care of its owner.”
The photo is courtesy of Chronicle and Echo Newspaper Northamptonshire
Air Ambulance arrives at Hollowell Steam Rally where five people were injured after a horse bolted