'His ear was touching his shoulder' - Family of Horndean youngster who was dragged under car thank Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance

Willoughby Copeland recovering in hospital
Willoughby Copeland recovering in hospital
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IS he going to die Daddy? 

That is what 10-year-old George Copeland said to his father Richard after his younger brother Willoughby was hit by a car.

Willoughby, who was seven at the time, and his brother George were scootering along the pavement on March 22 last year when a car crossed the path on London Road in Horndean to turn into a pub.

Dad Richard said: ‘I ran down the hill screaming and Willoughby was quite quiet when I got to him and he just said sorry Daddy it wasn’t my fault, he didn’t stop.

‘His ear was touching his shoulder and Anna, an off-duty nurse who was having a coffee across the road, came running and looked at him and basically just grabbed hold of his and put it back to where it should be on his head and just held tight.’

Mum Claire received a ‘panicked’ phone call from Richard telling her about Willoughby’s injuries.

The 40-year-old from Horndean said: ‘I just dropped everything at work and went straight to Queen Alexandra Hospital. They told me they had never heard of him which made me panic.

‘Richard called me and said his injuries are so bad they needed to take him to Southampton General and to come straight there.

‘When I got there, the critical care team from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance were working on him and there was lots of people comforting George.’

It was decided by the care team that Willoughby would be taken by road to the hospital.

‘The doctor in the vehicle just explained to me everything that was about to happen and he was very calming,’ Claire explained.

‘It made me feel confident in him which is what you need when your son is in and out of consciousness from morphine and covered in injuries.’ 

Willoughby, now nine, had to have 40 stitches in his head to reattach the scalp and broke his jaw in three places and had to have 20 stitches in his mouth and an operation to have a plate put in to align the jaw.

He also broke his collarbone and was covered in bruises and cuts.

Claire, who is the headteacher at Trafalgar School in Portsmouth, said: ‘It was a long recovery and Willoughby had to have another operation to take the plate out but he is doing really well now.

‘George was quite traumatised by the whole thing as they are very close brothers but he has been getting help for flashbacks.’

Claire and Richard decided not to press charges against the driver.

Claire explained: ‘He wasn't drunk or speeding and he was just absolutely devastated. It was a complete accident.’

To mark National Air Ambulance Week, the family wanted to share their story and thank the Hampshire Isle of Wight Air Ambulance team.

Claire added: ‘They saved my son’s life that day and I don’t know where we would be without them.

‘You never think about what they do until you need them in a crisis and for us they have become the most important charity.

‘I hope by sharing what happened to us, people will donate to make sure the team are kept in the air and on the road and ready to help anyone when they need it most.’

To find donate to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance visit https://wwwhiowaa.org/donate/