A man is singing the praises of the NHS and a local travel firm after they helped him recover from a skiing accident.
John Reynolds, 58, of The Parklands, Cockermouth, was on a skiing holiday with friends in the Dolomites mountain range of Italy when he was part of a freak collision which left him in hospital with shoulder, rib and eye injuries.
Unable to recall what had happened after waking up in hospital hours later, John, who works for Sellafield with Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, was treated for three days before attempting to fly home, only to be told by his insurance company that he was unable to fly with the eye injury he sustained.
With the help of Paul Cusack and his team at Cockermouth Travel, John made it home where he has continued his treatment through the NHS at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle.
Three weeks later John is on the mend and keen to thank those who made sure a difficult few days went as smoothly as possible.
“We simply couldn’t have been looked after any better,” he said.
“Both the emergency and medical services in Italy were great and since we’ve got back we’ve seen the best of the NHS in operation.
“It’s been a real – pardon the pun – eye-opener.
“I’ve had two operations, on my shoulder and eye, and now it’s just on with the long road to recovery.”
The group were staying near the village of Arabba in the Sella Ronda ski region and on their third day of skiing when John’s accident took place.
He said: “I’m a regular skier and have been every year since I was 18.
“I can’t remember a single thing about it.
“It looks like I collided with a friend of mine, skied into the back of them.
“The last thing I remember was getting to the top of a small gondola lift and we had a bit of a laugh and joke about where we were going to go next and what we were going to do.
“I think it was one of the easier routes, conditions were good and there weren’t many people on the slope so it’s a complete mystery what happened.
“The first memory I’ve got afterwards is actually waking up in the hospital.
“I was completely puzzled but it didn’t take me long to realise something pretty drastic must have gone on to wake up there.”
Plans for a battered and bruised John to fly home with the rest of the group were forced to change when he was told insurers had blocked his flight, but Cockermouth Travel came to the rescue and arranged seven trains with a friend from Venice to Penrith via Paris.
“We rang Paul Cusack at Cockermouth Travel and he did a fantastic job,” John added.
“Within half an hour to 45 minutes of us asking him, he emailed through tickets.
“If he hadn’t been able to do that I’m not quite sure what we’d have done; he was instrumental in me getting home.”