Seavington joint-master Jereme Darke is making a steady recovery in Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, after fracturing his skull last month.

Mr Darke, who is a vet in Evershot, Somerset, was tuberculin testing when a heifer kicked a metal gate into his face on 9 January.

The 45-year-old fell backward, hitting his head on concrete.

He sustained a fractured skull, brain haemorrhage and severe facial injuries.

He was airlifted to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery and has spent a month in intensive care, with a brain drain and tracheotomy tube.

But as H&H went to press, a spokesman for his practice, Synergy Farm Health Veterinary Services, reported that he will soon be moved out of intensive care on to a high-dependency ward.

The spokesman said: “The neurosurgeons are very pleased with his progress and will be handing over to the physiotherapists and nurses for the next rehabilitation phase.”

Mr Darke has been a joint-master of the Seavington since 2009.

Hunt secretary Tony Collins said: “It’s our hunt ball on Saturday and, like all the masters, Jereme turns out in his red tails. It is a real shame he will not be with us this year.”

And joint-master Charlotte Jackson added: “The ball will be less colourful, not only for the lack of his tails but also his personality.

Jereme is an incredibly hands-on and involved master and is much missed.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (9 February 2012)