Rescue operation after Havant councillor is injured in forest

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AN IRISH search and rescue team had to be called out to save a councillor who broke her leg in a remote forest.

Cllr Faith Ponsonby, who represents Leigh Park’s Battins ward on Havant Borough Council, was on the last day of a holiday in County Clare with her husband Michael when the drama began.

The couple had taken a walk in a remote forest on Saturday where the nearest village was eight miles away.

Cllr Ponsonby, 70, slipped on some mud and found she couldn’t get up again.

She said: ‘The funny thing was we had our honeymoon in County Clare 42 years ago but it wasn’t particularly good as I fell very ill.

‘We’d been saying we must go back there again and see it properly.

‘It had been raining all day but the sun had come out and it looked beautiful.

‘We were walking by Lough Graney and there was a tree stump on the path about 2.5ft high. I got over it but it was very muddy the other side and I skidded and my right leg went underneath me.

‘Michael tried to help me up but I couldn’t move. My foot was completely floppy.

’So I told him he had to dial 999 straight away.’

The accident happened at 4.15pm but it took 45 minutes for the ambulance crew to find Cllr Ponsonby.

She said: ‘The problem was the ambulance crew could not find us.

‘Once they arrived they had to work out the best way of getting me to the ambulance.

‘In the end they called for back-up from the fire brigade and four people put me on a portable stretcher and carried me to a waiting forestry van because the ambulance couldn’t get through.

‘They then transferred me to the ambulance and took me to Limerick Hospital which was about 40 minutes drive away.

‘We eventually got there at 7.30pm.’

An X-ray showed Cllr Ponsonby had broken her fibular bone.

She has a cast and will not be able to walk for six weeks.

The Lib Dem councillor said: ‘It now takes 45 minutes to do things that would normally take five because I’m on crutches.

‘And although I won’t be out and about I’ll still be on the end of the telephone.

‘Both the airport and the emergency services were brilliant. I can’t thank them enough. This has given me an insight into how difficult life must be for disabled people.’