Solicitor Frances McAulay (58) had never experienced pain like it.
As she lay on the ground after falling from her horse she started to panic.
“The pain was excruciating and I couldn’t breath,” she recalled. “I thought that I was going to die - I just couldn’t get my breath and I was terrified.”
The fall near her home in Kinross-shire saw Frances crash onto a concrete pavement, badly injuring her side and splitting her helmet as her head hit the ground. As locals comforted her and land paramedics raced to her aid, Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance was summoned to the scene.
“It was a cold November day and I was shivering in pain and shock,” she explained. “when the land paramedics arrived they administered pain relief but I was still really anxious about my injuries.
“I remember a brief and extremely uncomfortable ride in the ambulance to a field where the helicopter had landed. The SCAA team was amazing - really reassuring and kind. It seemed only minutes before I was at Ninewells Hospital.”
Frances sustained concussion and four broken ribs but is now almost fully recovered.
“We’re so lucky to have SCAA in Scotland,” she said. “When you are facing your darkest moments they come and switch the lights back on. They’ll say they were just doing their job but they felt like heroes on the day and they’re still heroes in my eyes. Professional, efficient and exactly who you want to see when you feel you’re on the edge.”
Back on her feet, Frances made a point of calling in at the SCAA base with a freshly baked cake for the crew and a promise to revive her Marathon running in order to raise funds for the charity.