Northumberland farmer who was crushed by hay bales is reunited with air ambulance rescuers

A farmer who was crushed by 600kg hay bales has returned to work after recovering from severe limb and hip injuries.

Simon Orpwood, 69, from Mindrum, near Berwick, was carting straw at Morris Hall Farm, near Norham, when the two bales fell directly on top of him.

Recalling last August’s incident, Mr Orpwood said: “Luckily I was with someone and I wasn’t on my own which quite often happens in farming.”

The North East Ambulance Service was called and decided to alert the critical care team from the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).

Simon Orpwood with the GNAAS ambulance which helped rescue him last year.

Mr Orpwood said: “Once the air ambulance arrived, because there was a doctor onboard they were able to give me a much stiffer painkiller than the ambulance could.”

After administering advanced pain relief, GNAAS airlifted Mr Orpwood to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI), in Newcastle, where he received further treatment.

Mr Orpwood faced a four and half hour operation to fix his hip, ankle and pelvis before spending a further fortnight recuperating at the RVI.

He is still recovering from his injuries but has managed to get back to work on his farm and has now paid a visit to the GNAAS base at Langwathby, in Cumbria, to thank Dr Sebastian Bourn and paramedic Terry Sharpe.

Simon Orpwood and wife Caroline speak to the GNAAS critical care team.

He said: “Meeting Seb and Terry was terrific. I was really determined to come and say thank you very much, because I think the air ambulance is the most wonderful service, particularly where we live in North Northumberland.

“It took 15 to 20 minutes to get from the farm to the RVI. If we’d gone by road it would have been certainly well over an hour and I’m just so grateful for what they did for me.”

Dr Bourn said: “It was great to meet Simon again at the base, under much better circumstances. I was very happy to hear that after lots of surgery and rehabilitation he is back working on the farm again.”

Since the incident, Mr Orpwood and wife Caroline have donated £2,500 to GNAAS from their charitable trust.

Last year GNAAS responded to hundreds of call outs and needs to raise more than £5m for its running cost. Visit or call (01325) 487263 to help.