A CHARITY fundraiser had a lucky escape when he crashed his bike into a wall and suffered four broken ribs and a punctured lung.
Neal Bullock organised a Coast to Coast bike ride to raise money for Ward 14 at James Cook University Hospital, but two days into the challenge he was calling on their services after he suffered serious injuries on the eve of his 42nd birthday.
The chef was one of 14 people tackling the bike ride when his brakes failed on a down hill section and he ploughed into the stone wall.
Despite his injuries, the offshore worker, is relieved to be alive and believes if it wasn't for his cycle helmet the accident could have easily proved to be fatal.
Until, today (Wednesday, August 26), he had not seen the footage of the accident which he captured on a camera fitted to his helmet. He said he was shaken by the experience.
Speaking as he nursed his injured ribs at his Ingleby Barwick home, just days after being released from hospital, he said: "I realise that I am so lucky to be alive.
"I can remember trying to slow down as I approached an S-bend in the road, just after we had passed Tan Hill, but when I pulled the brakes nothing happened. I knew I was going to hit the wall but nothing prepared me for the pain of the impact. I was in absolute agony, really struggling to breathe and in a state of shock.
"Thankfully, the people in the support vehicle saw the accident and were able to get to me straight away. They realised how badly injured I was and immediately called an ambulance. The paramedics strapped me a spinal board and called for the air ambulance to take me to James Cook University Hospital, ironically the hospital I was raising funds for."
Mr Bullock set up Fat Lads on Bikes last year to raise cash for Ward 14 at the hospital after his aunty was treated there for cancer.
The group has already raised thousands of pounds for charity but the Coast to Coast ride was the first challenge they started working on.
He said: "I was devastated not to be able to complete the ride but if I hadn't been wearing the cycling helmet I don't believe I would have been here today.
"It was a massive shock to my wife, Kay, and our three children and I can't praise everyone enough for what they have done for me - the paramedics, the air ambulance, the hospital staff and all the support from everyone else taking part in the ride.
"We took all the precautions that we could but I never expected to end up being treated in the very same hospital we were raising funds for. The one thing that I do know for sure is that it was the correct thing to do to make sure we all wore helmets, otherwise it could have been fatal for me.
"I am really proud of the others for completing the ride and hopefully, once I'm fit and well again, I will complete it myself. Although, Kay may not agree."
For further information about the charity or to make a donation visit fatladsonbikes.com