I'm so lucky to be alive

A painter and decorator who fell 20 feet from scaffolding at Ipswich's New Wolsey theatre has today told how he battled back to health in time to be at his daughter's wedding.

MEET the Wolsey fall guy.

This painter and decorator who fell 20 feet from scaffolding at Ipswich's New Wolsey theatre has today told how he battled back to health in time to be at his daughter's wedding.

Tony Ransome, 56, suffered a fractured skull, shattered heel and severe bruising in the accident and was rushed to Addenbrooke's Hospital by air ambulance, but just four days later he was watching his daughter Sadie, 35, walk down the aisle.

He said: “I'm very lucky. I should not be here today.”

Mr Ransome, of Waterford Road, Ipswich, was part of a team of decorators working on the refurbishment of the auditorium at the New Wolsey theatre when the accident happened on August 16.

He said: “I was lying on my back rolling the ceiling and leant over to get some more paint.

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“My neck had started to hurt because of the position I was in so I went to lay right down but there was just nothing there.

“I went over backwards.”

As he fell he managed to grab on to the scaffolding but as he did he swung into it and smashed his head, before falling on the floor.

He said: “I remember laying there looking up at the ceiling and thinking to myself 'what the hell have I done?'.

“I was conscious for a lot of it. I can remember hearing the air ambulance coming over and the paramedics cutting my shirt off me but then they sedated me to take me in the helicopter.

“The next thing I remember is waking up in the intensive care unit at Addenbrooke's the next morning.”

At first doctors were worried Mr Ransome had suffered brain damage but their fears turned out to be unfounded.

His most serious injury was a fractured forehead, which led to five metal plates being inserted under the skin, and a shattered heel.

Despite the seriousness of his accident Mr Ransome amazed friends and family by recovering fast enough to be allowed out of hospital after just four days in order to be at his daughter Sadie's wedding at Ipswich Registry Office on August 19.

He said: “It was incredible how quickly I recovered. To think I was in intensive care and then out of hospital within three days is amazing.”

Sadie's brother Neil, 33, walked her down the aisle as Mr Ransome's injuries meant he was unable to do it.

Mr Ransome's wife Sandy, 55, said: “We didn't know if he was going to come through it, so it's just amazing that he was able to be there at all.”

Mr Ransome returned to Addenbrooke's Hospital last weekend to have an operation to insert the plates into his skull.

He said: “If I hadn't had that done then I would have been left with a permanent dent in my forehead.”

At the moment it is too early for doctors to say how soon he will be recovered but he will be unable to walk on his heel for at least two months.

He said: “My life has basically come to a complete stand-still at the moment. It's frustrating not being able to do anything.

“It hasn't put me off working. I just want to get back out there and get on with things.”

Mr and Mrs Ransome would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped them through the last few weeks.

Mrs Ransome said: “We've had so many cards and phone calls from people, it's been overwhelming.

“We'd also like to thank all my colleagues at Coes for their support, particularly everyone in the Hirewear department who rushed round to make changes to the wedding outfits at the last minute.”

The couple also want to thank all the paramedics that helped Mr Ransome, as well as the air ambulance crew and the staff at Addenbrooke's Hospital.

Mr Ransome said: “Everybody was brilliant and really helped me to get better quickly, We can't thank them enough.”

He added: “Our friends have been brilliant too. It gets you down not being able to do anything but they have made me smile with their little jokes.

“They keep laughing because I'd always wanted to go in a helicopter and now that I have I can't remember any of it!”

Mr Ransome's accident happened at around 12.10pm on Wednesday August 16.

Health and safety officers have since told him he fell around 17 feet on to one of the steps where the theatre seats usually are.

Fortunately he landed along the length of a step rather than across several steps.

When paramedics had assessed the extent of his injuries the East Anglian Air Ambulance was called to fly him to Addenbrooke's Hospital, where they specialise in treating people with head injuries.

The air ambulance landed in the playground at St Matthew's School and he was transported to it by land ambulance.

The Health and Safety Executive launched an immediate investigation in to the accident, which is still on-going.

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