Letter: Thanks to those who helped after cow attack
SIR – I am Terry Clark, aged 83 and a Lymington resident for 30 years, a keen cyclist and, unfortunately, the first victim of the loose cow which attacked us on 13th June between Lower Pennington Lane and Keyhaven (A&T, 17th June).
I would like to thank Geoff Morton, the brave rescuer who potentially saved my life. His was an act of great courage, a cool head, in spite of the horrifying speed and effectiveness of the attack which I was unable to defend myself from.
I would like to meet him when I am feeling better to thank him in person.
I also wish to record the acts of kindness and support from other cyclists, walkers and particularly of two young mothers with babies and prams and a dog on a lead, and another lady, all of whom were with me at the scene whilst the dangers of a fresh attack were very real.
I had kind offers of water and reassurance; also the young ambulance crew who dealt well with the difficulties of access due to the five-bar gates at both ends of the gravel track. I have had no contact with my fellow victim who I understand was tossed into the hedge and suffered injuries.
I thank the car owners who managed to block the cow until it could be removed by the farmer, and the animal welfare specialist for his help.
I travel by bike along this gravel path in both directions three or four times a week and have done so for 15 years or more and have never encountered a loose cow or/and calf. This is a path not designed to be used for loose-grazing, calved cows.
It is used by cyclists, walkers, pony riders, dog walkers, whole families. It is gated at each end and has barbed wire fence in bushes both sides.
Cycling is my hobby, it keeps me fit and gives me access to the Forest and the seaside. I always wear a cycle helmet which saved me from head injury and was smashed in the attack.
I am retired and for 15 years a volunteer with Forestry England and other conservation groups. I ride all over the New Forest and know well the need to give a slow, careful wide berth to loose animals, especially cows with calves, also ponies with foals, and sows with piglets.
I spent three nights in Southampton General Hospital via A&E and received excellent care, attention and sympathy, particularly on ward E4. I have five fractured ribs and some lacerations and bruising but consider myself very fortunate. I am recovering slowly and well.
I hope at least this is a reminder to all of us to be alert to these dangers and to wear cycle helmets as standard. The tremendous help I have received has reinforced my faith in human nature. Thank you to all.