A HAIRDRESSER spoke of the terrifying moment when she and her mother escaped death by inches in a horrifying road smash, in September 2011.

Gail Ward-Nichol made a split-second decision as she glimpsed a lorry toppling over onto her car at the Hopgrove roundabout, near York.

And by instantly throwing herself down and sideways across her 83-year-old mother, Freda Ward, she managed to save them both from being crushed in the impact.

Instead, they were trapped in a 9in gap between their seats and the crumpled roof of Ms Ward-Nichol's Peugeot 107, underneath the overturned lorry and its cargo of chickens.

"If I hadn't been quick-thinking, I would probably have been decapitated, " said Ms WardNichol, 52, who owns a hair salon and hairdressing training school in York.

"There was a loud bang and then I expected silence. Instead, I heard the sound of 3,000 chickens in the lorry that were squawking in agony."

She added: "I can still see the lorry coming towards me and still hear the thud as it hit me and hear the chickens, and can still smell the chickens, and see the blood dropping off my nose onto my mother's blouse.

"A chicken which had fallen from a cage through my smashed window was flapping and dying by my feet."

Once Ms Ward-Nichol had scrambled free, she saw chickens that had spilled from the lorry lying all around. "You could not tell which ones were alive and which were dead, " she said.

In Durham, a teenage girl was thought to have become the country's youngest serving undertaker.

Rebecca Wright, 16, began working as an apprentice funeral director in the summer of 2011, immediately after sitting her GCSEs.

While her peers are starting their A-levels, Rebecca is dealing with bodies every day. She said: "I really enjoy it. I'm happy every morning."

Rebecca's father, Stuart Wright, started out as a funeral director aged 15, before setting up Stuart Wright Funeral Service in 1992.

A typical day sees her washing cars, preparing bodies, making funeral arrangements with bereaved families and attending funerals, including acting as a pallbearer.

However, with about 100 funerals already under her belt, there is only one part of the job she cannot do - drive the cars, as she is not 17 until December.

She said: "I wanted to follow in my dad's footsteps. I've grown up around dead bodies.

"I wanted to do something practical. Everyone knows I'm a lot happier than I was at school.

"Ilike making the families satisfied with the service."

Her father, 43, said: "She's excellent in every way - a credit to the team.

"She's particularly receptive to families' needs."

Rebecca will begin a correspondence course in funeral care next year.

People are often surprised to see such a young, and female, funeral director, she admitted, but she lets her work do the talking.

And she knows how to have fun, spending her spare time shopping with friends and taking photos.

"You've got to be able to switch off. We're schooled not to get too involved, " Mr Wright said.

"There are a lot of women in the business now - probably most companies have a female conductress. A lot of the job can be done better by ladies."

Protestors fighting plans to build one of England's biggest wind farms launched a visual campaign in September 2011.

The proposal, by energy firm E.ON, was for up to 45 turbines on land alongside the A1 near Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

However, objectors said there were already enough turbines in the area, are inefficient, and are a blot on the landscape.

To help residents living near the site visualise how the Isles wind farm site would look, they have produced a series of banners.

Each depict the site from surrounding towns and villages.

Campaigner Jean Gillespie said: "We have created photo montages and made them as accurate as possible to help people grasp the scale of the turbines and impact of the proposed wind farm.

"We want to keep up the profile of our campaign.

"These banners will help people imagine how it will look from their homes so they can make up their own minds."