A GRAND National-winning jockey whose life was saved by an air ambulance crew in Stratford has become a patron of the charity.
Irishman Jason Maguire was kicked in the stomach by a horse at Stratford Racecourse in March after being thrown from his own mount during a race.
Medics from Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance (WNAA) treated the jockey at the scene before flying him to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire..
X-rays would later reveal the life-threatening extent of the 34-year-old’s injuries which included a broken sternum and bleeding on his liver, part of which had to be removed.
Jason – who rode Ballabriggs to victory at the 2011 Grand National – is now back on his feet and visited the WNAA airbase at Coventry Airport where he paid tribute to the paramedics who saved him.
He said: “The speediness of the helicopter and the expert care I received from Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance was amazing. Without them, who knows what might have happened to me.
“It’s an absolute honour to be patron of such a fantastic service that helps hundreds of injured horse riders like myself.”
The jockey is supporting the charity’s latest appeal which is aiming to raise £40,000 to help cover the cost of on-the-spot pain relief.
He added: “Providing pain relief is absolutely essential in helping the charity’s critical care paramedics do their job. Easing the patient’s pain enables the paramedics to provide treatment and perform important procedures more easily.
“Speaking from experience, I know just how important it is and I would encourage everyone to support it and give what they can.”
The Air Ambulance Service receives no government funding and relies solely on public donations. Just £10 can help pay for essential pain relief for people involved in emergencies such as Jason.
To donate visit www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk/painreliefappeal or call 08454 130999.