Ilfracombe woman awarded for helping impaled cyclist

An 18-year-old woman from north Devon who helped a friend impaled on a railing in a cycling accident has won a first aid award.

Izzy Brooks, from Ilfracombe, has been awarded a St John Ambulance Young First Aider of the Year award for helping 18-year-old Ben Foulds.

He broke his back in the accident in Barnstaple last November and has been told he may never walk again.

Ms Brooks said she knew what to do because of previous first aid training.

The teenager, who hopes to become a doctor, said: "I saw a cyclist hit the railing and fall over the edge and went to see if there was anything I could do."

She said she only realised the cyclist was her friend Mr Foulds when she got closer to the scene on Barnstaple's Old Sticklepath Hill.

"He had a large section of railings in his side and severe head injuries," she said.

Spinal injury

"Someone else was on the phone to the ambulance so I checked his breathing and his injuries.

"I decided it was important to keep him still as I feared he had a spinal injury."

Ms Brooks has had five years' first aid training as a member of the Air Training Corps.

She said she had told Mr Foulds about the award: "We have spoken about the accident because he can't remember anything of the day itself and I know he is pleased that my actions have been recognised."

Mr Foulds, whose injuries included a broken back and swelling to the brain, has spent months undergoing rehabilitation in hospital since the accident.

In March Devon County Council was forced to apologise after his family were mistakenly sent a letter demanding payment for the cost of repairing the railings.

The council said it had not been aware of the circumstances of the incident when a standard letter was sent to the family.

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