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83-year-old cyclist Terry Clark attacked by cow in Keyhaven calls his rescuer 'true hero'

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AN elderly cyclist who suffered five broken ribs after being attacked by a cow has praised a passer-by as a “true hero” for saving his life.

Terry Clark (83) was rammed off his bike before being crushed by the “out of control” animal, which was with its calf having escaped from a field.

He came forward to reveal himself as the victim of the attack on the footpath between Lymington and Keyhaven, which was reported in the A&T last week.

Terry Clark suffered five broken ribs, lacerations and bruising
Terry Clark suffered five broken ribs, lacerations and bruising

He also suffered lacerations and bruising from the experience which smashed his cycling helmet.

Recalling the incident, Mr Clark thanked rescuer Geoff Morton for coming to his aid, saying: “His was an was an act of great courage coming from a cool head despite the horrifying speed of the attack.

"He was so brave, taking my bike and fending off the cow to stop it further injuring me.

Cow and its calf was penned in by cars until an animal rescuer reached the scene
Cow and its calf was penned in by cars until an animal rescuer reached the scene

"If he hadn’t, I potentially might have died. There was a very real threat of another attack but that did not stop him coming to my aid. He was a true hero.”

After being fended away from Mr Clark, the animal attacked another cow before pitching a second man head first into brambles.

It was eventually taken back to its field after being penned into the ground of a nearby house by drivers using their cars.

Mr Clark is a retired NHS manager whose last project involved the construction of Lymington hospital. He said he has cycled the pathway two or three times a week without incident for 15 years.

When he has recovered from his injuries he said would like to meet Mr Morton to thank him in person, saying: “I want to shake his hand. What he did was remarkable.”

Terry's cycling helmet was damaged in the attack
Terry's cycling helmet was damaged in the attack

He also thanked other passers-by who came to his aid. He said: “There were two young mothers with babies who helped me even though the cow was still there, and they were at risk.

“They sat me up and one of them let me rest back on her legs as I was struggling to breathe. Other people also helped trap the cow and calf in a field. Everyone, including the emergency services, were wonderful.”

Mr Clark said the attack happened after he “just came across” the cow and calf on his normal bike ride.

He said: “They should never have been there. That footpath is used by lots of people including families with young children.

“I am a volunteer for Forestry England so I know that animals should be given a wide berth. On this day I saw that some people on the path appeared to be waiting and I rode past them. The cow was right there – I stopped and put my feet on the ground.

Geoff Morton came to Terry's rescue
Geoff Morton came to Terry's rescue

“But it was too late. She charged at me, throwing both me and the bike into the air. She then lay on me. That’s how cows attack, they push something over and lie on it.

“It was terrifying. I couldn’t breathe, and she kept butting me with her head again and again. My helmet was crushed to bits as a result, but I think it really saved my life.”

Mr Clark was rushed to Southampton General Hospital where he spent one night in A&E and two more in a ward. He is now recovering at home in Lymington.

He said: “I am feeling very, very lucky and thankful to the people who were there, especially Geoff.

"I hope my story is a reminder to people to be careful around animals in the New Forest and also for cyclists to wear a helmet. “

Mr Clark said he was now “looking forward” to getting back on his bike, saying: “I love cycling – it keeps me fit and is a great hobby. But I don’t know if I will be using that footpath for a while."

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