A WOMAN who she suffered serious facial injuries when she fell off her mountain bike while riding in a forest has thanked the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) for coming to her aid.

The Northern Echo:

Hayley Crooks, 29, from Middlesbrough was riding in Whinlatter Forest, Keswick, with her then-fiancé Chris Crooks, when she fell in July 2016.

Mr Crooks rang the emergency services and the Keswick Mountain Rescue Team (KMRT) arrived first on scene where it was decided they needed the assistance of GNAAS.

The paramedic and doctor team from GNAAS worked alongside North West Ambulance Service paramedics to assess and treat Mrs Crooks’ injuries before she was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle for further treatment.

Mrs Crooks had broken her nose, knocked two teeth out, damaged her bottom lip and lower jaw as well as compressed two vertebrae in her spine.

She spent four nights in the RVI and had surgery on her face including realigning her nose to help her breathe properly, and her bottom lip stitched up.

The Northern Echo:

Hayley with her husband Chris with the GNAAS helicopter

She said: “Thankfully GNAAS picked up on my back injury and my back was immobilised with a vacuum stretcher. I didn’t have front teeth for several months and I never really appreciated them until I lost them. Once I got my implants I had a celebratory corn on the cob.”

It took nearly a year for Mrs Crooks to recover and she only has a small scar on her nose as a reminder of the incident.

In September last year she married her partner and they managed to raise £610 for GNAAS after asking for donations instead of presents. They also gave guests GNAAS and KMRT pins as a memento.

The Northern Echo:

Hayley's damaged bike helmet

Mrs Crooks, who is an advanced practitioner at the North East Ambulance Service, said: “I’ve always supported GNAAS, it is invaluable and having been a patient it’s made me see them from a different perspective.

"I’ve done the lottery for a number of years and we have complete admiration for everything they do. The service they provide is incredible and they help save so many people’s lives.”

  • For further information about the charity visit www.gnaas.com or call 01325-487263.