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International rider who smashed pelvis to shave head in aid of air ambulance

An international showjumper is shaving her head to raise funds for the air ambulance that came to her aid 18 years ago when she broke her back in a rotational fall.

Former eventer Vicky Laing fell during the cross-country phase of an intermediate class at Milton Keynes in June 2002 and had to be airlifted to hospital.

“It was a crashing fall. I broke my back, smashed my pelvis to pieces and suffered internal injuries,” Vicky told H&H.

“I remember the air ambulance crew were fantastic. They are so skilled and you knew you were in very good hands.”

Vicky underwent surgery on her pelvis and spent nine months on crutches after the accident. She returned to eventing the following year and went on to ride at Burghley in 2005 and 2007, before turning to showjumping.

Since the accident Vicky has been keen to raise awareness of the work of the air ambulance and now plans to shave her head on 3 September. She hopes to raise £3,000 to be split between the Air Ambulance Service and the Matt Hampson Foundation, a charity founded by former rugby player Matt Hampson who was paralysed in a training session in 2005. The charity aims to support those who have been seriously injured in sporting accidents.

“I’ve been threatening to shave my head for years and now I’m going to do it. I’ve always donated to charity and I really wanted to do this for charities that are close to my heart,” said Vicky, who is also donating her cut hair to the Little Princess Trust, a charity that uses real hair to make wigs for children with cancer.

“I have very thick blonde hair, it’s like a lion’s mane! I know I’ll cry when it comes off. I plan to livestream it so people can see it taking place.”

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Vicky said the air ambulance is “invaluable” and she would like to see more publicity for the charity.

“My accident wasn’t life-threatening – but it could have been. An air ambulance can get to areas that you perhaps can’t access by vehicle and get you to hospital quicker,” she said.

“Not everyone realises the air ambulance isn’t government funded and relies on donations so they can be forgotten about until someone needs one.”

Donations can be made at Vicky’s Just Giving pages; Air Ambulance Service and Matt Hampson Foundation.

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