A WOMAN who suffered life changing injuries after being thrown from her horse is supporting an air ambulance’s charity golf day after they came to her aid.

Tara Howell, 49, was riding near her family home in Stearsby, near Helmsely, when she was thrown from her horse and landed on her head. The impact broke her neck, leaving her paralysed from the chest down.

She said: "I landed awkwardly breaking my neck at C6/7, dislocating 13 vertebrae and bending my spinal cord in an 'S' shape.

"I heard my neck snap and I was instantly paralysed from the chest down. I lay in the field for five-and-a-half hours and owe my discovery to Victor.”

Ms Howell's horse, Victor, was grazing beside her when he was spotted by a passing horse rider who came to investigate. Ms Howell was lying on the ground and the rider called the emergency services.

Ms Howell added: “Stranded as I was in the middle of nowhere, it was impossible to get an ambulance to me and I knew, from the moment I hit the ground, that the only way to get me out would be by helicopter.”

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNASS) flew to the scene and stabilised Ms Howell before airlifting her to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

After an eight hour operation to rebuild and stabilise her neck and two weeks in a medical coma Ms Howell spent a month in high dependency before being transferred to Pinderfields spinal unit in Wakefield, where she remained for a further six months of physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

“I’ve always been a positive and determined person and that has helped me reframe my life in light of the restrictions now imposed by my disability," she said.

“I’m only here and alive because of GNAAS, I think they’re marvellous. I think most people know that the air ambulance is a superb service and staffed by incredible professionals who save lives every day. I think, probably, what they don’t know is that air ambulance services are charities and rely on donations to keep them going.”

To support GNAAS, Ms Howell’s husband, James Stewart, has signed up to take part in the charity’s golf day, along with her father, artist David Howell, who is selling prints and cards of his paintings to raise money for GNAA.

For those interested in becoming a sponsor, visit: gna.as/golf-sponsorship.