Tree fall survivor to feature in TV medical documentary

A retired engineer from Horsham who survived a 15ft fall while pruning trees at his home is to be featured on Channel 4’s 24 Hours in A&E on January 28.

The Royal Television Society Award-winning documentary series continues from its new home at St George’s Hospital in London – one of Britain’s most advanced and busiest A&E departments.

Filmed around the clock by 104 cameras, the series captures dramatic and emotional stories of love, life and loss on the frontline of the NHS.

Next week’s episode tells the story of 69-year-old Bill Ovenden who fell from a ladder while pruning a Leylandii hedge at his home in Brooks Green.

His sister Margaret, an ex-nurse, called 999 and the air ambulance was sent because he had suspected multiple fractures and difficulty breathing.

Margaret said: “He prides himself on doing everything himself, saying, ‘Don’t spend money on that, I can do it’.”

The air ambulance landed in Bill’s field and the helicopter’s doctor and paramedic treated him at the scene before flying him to St George’s.

24 Hours in A&E shows him arriving at the Major Trauma Centre where scans reveal he has a collapsed lung. He luckily avoided more serious injury after landing on a pile of grass cuttings.

Bill was one of the first patients to be airlifted to St George’s following the opening of its rooftop heli-pad in April.

He has since made a full recovery and is now planning an afternoon tea party at his home to raise funds for the air ambulance which relies almost entirely on donations.

24 Hours in A&E is on Channel 4 on Wednesday, January 28, at 9pm. If you would like to find out more about the Air Ambulance or make a donation, please visit

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