Brave Ottery burns victim Ian: “I can’t wait for Tar Barrels!”

A BURNS victim whose head was engulfed by a fireball when a Tar Barrel exploded has made a remarkable recovery- and says nothing will stop him attending the event in November.

Brave Ian Chown, pictured right, said his burnt face looked “like something out of a horror film” after an unknown culprit sparked a blast that injured eleven other spectators during last year’s fun.

Ian, 24, has always backed the tradition he loves and told the Herald this week: “I think it’s awesome it’s going ahead and I’ll be there in full spirits. I’ve never missed it.

“Claiming compensation for what happened didn’t cross my mind. If I had, it wouldn’t be the people whose fault it was that would be paying the price.

“I will never blame the organisers or barrelers, they can’t control one mindless moron out of thousands.”


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Ian feared he would be scarred for life as he was rushed to hospital with first and second degree burns to his face, lips and ear.

His head took the brunt of a blast when an explosive was lobbed into a barrel.

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He was the only one of 12 burns victims transferred 80miles to see specialists at Bristol’s Frenchay Hosptial.

“In hospital seeing myself really badly burnt I would never have believed how I could ever recover,” he said.

“I looked like a zombie, all skin, puss and singed hair- black and pink.

“I’ve had to moisturise my face three times a day since and will have to keep doing so for another year.

“I’m relieved. It’s only been in the past few weeks I’ve felt fully recovered.

“It hasn’t stopped me doing anything,” said American Football ace Ian, “I’m back playing and coaching.

“I’ve put it behind me, although I still get asked about it ever day.

“It’s a really good thing the Barrels is going ahead. I’m getting my friends from university to come down. I know it will be as safe as always this year- I’ll be getting up close.”

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