Son tells of woman’s Remembrance service accident ordeal

First aid is given to the woman injured at Southsea
First aid is given to the woman injured at Southsea
Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson. Pictute: LPhot Ioan Roberts

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  • Loudspeakers topple during ceremonies in Southsea and Horndean
  • Women left with nasty head injuries and needed hospital treatement
  • Calls have now been made to improve safety at next year’s Remembrance services
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CALLS to improve safety have been made after a pair of falling loudspeakers injured two women at separate Remembrance Sunday events over the weekend.

Shirley Archbold was left with a nasty gash on her head when the pole holding a speaker toppled onto her head at the Horndean Remembrance service.

Blood gushed from the cut and left her needing urgent attention from St John Ambulance volunteers at the scene.

And at the same time in Southsea, another women needed to be rushed to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, following a similar accident at the Royal Naval War Memorial.

Now, Mrs Archbold’s son, Neal, 36, of Horndean, has urged for improved safety measures at next year’s ceremonies.

He said: ‘It was pretty scary. The first thing we knew about it was a dangling wire that was drooping down.

‘Then the speaker just collapsed – fortunately someone was the other side of my mum and put his hands out to slow its fall.

‘I saw my mum and she had a pretty nasty cut across her head.

‘There was a puddle of blood on the floor.

‘I was completely shocked. It was an unbelievable thing to happen.’

Mrs Archbold, 61, spent the rest of the afternoon in hospital where she had several stitches placed in her head.

Mr Archbold, who has attended the event for the past few years, said he had never seen anything like it.

He was unsure how the loudspeaker fell but said it could have been either the wind or a passerby accidentally knocking it down.

Councillor Lynn Evans is the chairman of Horndean Parish Council and said the incident was under investigation.

She said: ‘It was very unfortunate. It’s a pity that a freak accident like this could mar what was otherwise a very well attended event.

‘We are very sorry to hear about the incident and we have launched our own investigation into it.’

The Horndean service was held at the village’s centre, in The Square.

Cllr Evans estimates that some 1,000 people attended the Remembrance ceremony.

The Southsea event was staged by Royal British Legion Riders Branch and is also under investigation.