GRAPHIC CONTENT: Elderly woman left with up to 14 stitches after 'freak' cricketing accident on Sidmouth's seafront
PUBLISHED: 11:00 17 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:40 22 August 2018
A pensioner was left needing up to 14 stitches when a cricket ball hit her in the back of the head in Sidmouth.
Barbara Tummey, from Malvern, was visiting the town on a coach trip when the ‘freak accident’ occurred on Monday (August 13).
The 80-year-old said: “I was sat on a bench looking out to sea with my daughter when a cricket ball came over the wall and a man caught it and threw it back. My daughter said ‘it is a good job it didn’t hit anyone on the head’.
“We were sat waiting and then there was a whack. It hit my head with such a crack my daughter thought it had hit a wall. I put my hand up straight away and could feel the dent on the back of my head and the blood which started to pour down my arm, soaking my shirt. The cricketers were very good and first aider Will was fantastic.
“A woman also gave me one of her baby’s nappies, so I was sat with that on my head for a while.
“I can’t praise the cricket club enough – they were wonderful in helping me, really brilliant. They couldn’t have done more if they tried.
“I had between 10 and 14 stitches – they couldn’t say how many exactly because I had a doctor on each side, sewing away. The doctors said they could lift up part of my scalp and could see my skull underneath which wasn’t fractured thankfully, so I didn’t have to have a scan.
“I was just glad it wasn’t a child. I feel sorry for the cricketers - it wasn’t intentional. They have applied for planning permission for netting but it was rejected.”
The grandmother-of-two thanked Fionn Wardrop, chairman of the Sidmouth club’s cricket section, for driving her home after she missed her coach, a five-hour round trip. She added the club had been checking up on her.
Barbara said: “The chap who hit the ball was very apologetic and felt really bad but it wasn’t his fault, if it is anyone’s, it was the council’s.”
Neil Gamble, chairman of the Sidmouth Cricket and Croquet Club, said an application to install netting was rejected by East Devon District Council as it wasn’t in keeping with the area. But they were working with the authority on a bid, costing up to £20,000, for netting. They hope to submit plans in the next couple of weeks.
“It was a freak accident but the cricketers came through, giving as much support as they could,” he said.
The council spokeswoman said: “The council received an application in 2017 for cricket nets and poles, however after discussions this was withdrawn by the applicant, with an understanding that further discussions would take place to achieve a solution, and that a further application would be submitted.
“We are not aware of any further discussions that have taken place with the council since the application was withdrawn, and as yet we have not received a further application.”