On Sunday, May 1 I was meeting my sister and brother-in-law as they were taking flowers to their grandson’s remembrance bench near the war memorial on Whitley Bay links.
They parked in Eastborne Gardens and used the double crossing. My sister nearly came out of her wheelchair as the kerbs have not been made for wheelchair use.
We carried on towards Spanish City, looking for a way to get to the bench, but it was all grass. I saw a metal barrier that had a sign saying ‘no vehicles or parking past here’, but it did have a path that would take us to were we wanted to be.
We couldn’t go around the gate because it was rough and muddy so I took a long metal pin out of this gate and realised, as I pushed it open, it was heavy. As I pushed it closed I had to lift it and my strength gave way, as did my lower discs in my back.
The snapping sound and pain took me off my feet and laid me flat out. I thought my back was broken. I couldn’t move, only cry.
A nurse who had been passing in her car, stopped to help. She phoned an ambulance, and another nurse, who saw what happened from her house, brought a blanket and pillow.
These two women made me feel that I would be ok. Thank you so much. Also two police cars stopped. One policeman put his jacket over me. Thank you, I was feeling very cold. Then a young female doctor, who lived opposite, came and checked me over, reassuring me that I hadn’t broken my back. Thank you, also.
When the paramedics arrived they took me to Cramlington hospital, where I was looked after, examined, and given an MRI scan. Thank you to all staff. (Save our NHS and support junior doctors, please).
As my sister and brother came back from the bench a woman with a pushchair was about to do the same thing as me to try to open the gate. They told her what had happened and she stopped.
I take full responsibility for what happened to me, but something needs to be added to the sign, maybe ‘Very Heavy Gate, Do Not Open’.
Also could the council make the pavements more wheelchair-friendly before someone puts a claim for injuries to the council?