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Council rangers praised for helping stricken horse rider

Two park rangers have been praised after they galloped to help a horse rider who had been thrown from her horse.

The rangers spent over two hours comforting the woman, who had suffered a serious back injury, ensuring she did not move until emergency services arrived.

Thursday 23 July started out like any other normal day at work for two of Rochdale Borough Council’s park rangers. Mike Cummings and Tommy Downes were busy chopping a fallen tree near to Queen’s Park in Heywood, when they witnessed an accident that involved a young lady who had fallen from her horse and quickly became apparent that she was seriously injured.

Ashleigh Merrill, 24, from Heywood was out riding with friends in fields across from the park when her horse dropped his head while cantering, resulting in her taking a serious tumble. The rangers were first on the scene and quickly jumped into action to help Ashleigh remain still and offered words of comfort to make sure she avoided any further injuries and distress.

The rangers – who always carry a first aid kit immediately phoned for an ambulance, but given the location where she came off, a specialist off-road vehicle was required.

Ashleigh’s mum contacted the council to pass on her gratitude to them both for helping her daughter out that day.

Joy Merrill, said: “These two men were first on the scene and did everything they could to help my daughter, I will be eternally grateful to them. One of the men lay on the floor holding her head for over two hours on wet ground in the rain. These two men are an absolute credit to the council. Sadly, my daughter has suffered a fractured spine due to the fall but this could have been so much worse if it wasn’t for the speedy response of these lovely men.

“Tommy and Mike are a real credit to the council and Ashleigh is very grateful for their help.”

Councillor Neil Emmott, the council’s cabinet member for environmental management, said: “It is always nice to receive such positive comments from a member of the public and on this occasion our park rangers’ actions helped out at a very critical moment. Tommy and Mike should be very proud of their actions at this incident.

“Thank you both very much for everything you have done.”

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