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Bell-ringing marathon raises thousands for helicopter heroes

Bell-ringing marathon raises thousands for helicopter heroes

Published at 6:45pm 16th January 2017. (Updated at 6:56pm 16th January 2017)

A bell-ringer from Ripon has completed a special challenge to raise money for Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Robert Wood was doing maintenance work on the 106-year-old bells at Middleham Parish Church, in Wensleydale, when he slipped and fell onto part of the mechanism, impaling his chin on a metal peg.

The impact smashed Robert's jaw and narrowly missed the major blood vessels in his neck.

Amazingly, the 62-year-old managed to make his way down the bell tower to a shocked colleague who called the emergency services.

Fearing major blood vessel and nerve damage, Yorkshire Air Ambulance airlifted the retired environmental health officer to the major trauma centre at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Robert Wood

Robert Wood in hospital after his accident at Middleham Parish Church

After recovering from his freak accident, Robert decided to raise the estimated £4,000 cost of the flight.

In November, he was joined by family and friends for a bell-ringing marathon, where they attempted a minimum of 5,000 different changes in the full peal, which involved over three hours of non-stop ringing.

Despite their best efforts, they didn't manage it on that occasion.

However, the team had another go at Ripon Cathedral on Saturday and rang 5,007 different changes in three hours and 20 minutes.

They have also managed to raise just over £4,000.

Robert told Stray FM: "By the end, you're getting quite tired - it's physically challenging, it's mentally challenging - because you've really got to concentrate for the whole time.

"I chose something like that, because if you're doing something special as a fundraiser, it's got to be a challenge.

"It's a brilliant service. I'm so grateful for the ride that I had in their helicopter, because it saved me a very long and painful road journey."

Robert's accident will feature in the final episode of Helicopter ER, on UKTV's Really channel, at 10pm on Monday 30 January.

You can support his fundraising campaign at