A WOMAN whose life was saved by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance has taken up a volunteering role with the charity.

Caroline Shepherd, 37, who lives in Wombleton, has joined the army of volunteers helping spread the word about the service at events across the county.

There she will be telling the extraordinary story of how she was rescued from rural Ryedale by helicopter after she had a brain aneurysm and stopped breathing.

Caroline said: “It’s nice for the public to hear it - it brings it home to them.

“They think; that lady’s been there.”

The last thing Caroline remembers from the day it happened, back in January last year, is speaking to her father on the telephone.

She was on her horse, near Lockton, returning home from a day’s riding. She put her phone back in her coat pocket. The next thing she remembers is waking up in hospital eight days later.

She had suffered a subarachnoid aneurysm haemorrhage, which caused her to go into respiratory arrest.

Not one but two air ambulances had attended, including a Yorkshire Air Ambulance helicopter from its base at Nostell, near Wakefield, which carried the doctor who put her to sleep - effectively saving her life - before carrying her to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Waking up in hospital after a week-long induced coma, her dad told her what had happened. “I didn’t believe him one iota,” she said. “Then the drugs wore off and it began to dawn on me.”

Since the incident, she has been on a slow road to recovery. She was offered a move to a rehabilitation centre in York but declined, saying: “I just wanted to be at home with the dog and the horse - they’ve helped me pull through.”

She is now starting to get back to work as a carer, doing a few hours per week, as well as attending events on behalf of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, such as Acklam Sports and Gymkhana show at the weekend.

“It gets me out and about,” she said. “I love being out in the fresh air, the laughs you have and the connections you make. I get a real sense of team work. I’m part of the team and I feel proud of where I am and where I’m up to. I’m one of the lucky ones.”

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is profiling its volunteers as part of National Volunteer Week. The charity’s registered volunteers give much-needed support to the charity by promoting closer working relationships within local communities, increasing

fundraising opportunities, developing new initiatives and providing skills and experience.

When asked what she would say to someone considering volunteering, Caroline added: “Come on board, even though its voluntary, there’s a lot of appreciation from the charity and they are very grateful for your help. It is like being part of a large family, they take you under their wing and look after you.”

To find out about volunteering opportunities for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, visit the website yorkshireairambulance.org.uk/supporting-yaa/volunteers