AN EXPERIENCED stockman has sustained 20 broken ribs and a punctured lung after being hit by a bull.

Grandfather Derek Thompson, of Welbury, was being treated in the intensive care unit at James Cook University Hospital yesterday, after the accident on one of his family’s farms in West Harlsey, near Northallerton.

One of Mr Thompson’s sons, James, said the incident last Tuesday (January 15) had been very upsetting for the family and that they were hopeful he would make a strong recovery.

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Neighbours of Mr Thompson, who is believed to be in his mid-60s, said they were in shock and had been praying for the livestock farmer.

A spokeswoman for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said it would be making inquiries about the incident.

HSE figures show that more than 481 people have been injured by cattle in the past eight years.

Rachel Gillbanks, the National Farmers Union’s north-east spokeswoman, said their thoughts were with Mr Thompson and his family.

She said: “Cattle are unpredictable and although farmers are aware of the dangers, we work to highlight the risks as farmers are often working long hours and on their own and there can be occasions when risk is not upmost in their minds.”