Woman saved just seconds from death

NURSE Clare Scarfe today owes her life to the amazing bravery of a motorist who pulled her from a burning car - just seconds before it exploded.

NURSE Clare Scarfe today owes her life to the amazing bravery of a motorist who pulled her from a burning car - just seconds before it exploded.

Mrs Scarfe, 34, was trapped inside her burning vehicle with horrific injuries after a terrifying crash with a Land Rover which was carrying gas canisters and could have blown up at any time.

It ended up on top of her car on the A1071 at Hadleigh.

With badly injured arms and legs she was unable to pull herself from the wreckage and could only watch as the searing flames melted the dashboard which then dripped onto her wounded leg.

But as others stood and watched in horror, Ipswich woman Mandy Gavin braved the ensuing fireball to drag Mrs Scarfe out of danger.

Now she has nominated her lifesaver as one of the heroes of Suffolk in the Evening Star's Stars of Suffolk Awards.

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She said: “I owe my life to her, because without her I would not be here. My children would not have a mother and they would be organising my funeral.

“I will always be eternally grateful to her because I do not know how I could ever repay her for what she has done.”

Today she revealed how:

- Mrs Scarfe could only watch helplessly as her legs remained trapped in the footwell of the car while the blaze took hold.

- Mrs Gavin braved the flames trying to drag her through the passenger door but when this failed she smashed the car windows with a golf club so she could pull Mrs Scarfe to safety.

- Two others helped Mrs Gavin drag Mrs Scarfe just six feet clear before an explosion in her car which left the dashboard, gearstick and steering wheel incinerated.

Mrs Scarfe of Vale Lane, Kersey was taken to Ipswich Hospital, where she works as an orthopaedic nurse and was found to compound fractures to her left leg and arm and a broken heel. The driver of the Land Rover was uninjured.

Police arrived shortly afterwards and called her husband Ashley, who was on his way home from trick-or-treating with the couple's youngest son Charlie, 11.

Mrs Scarfe had been working at the hospital for several years, and only graduated with her diploma in nursing two days before the crash.

As an orthopaedic nurse, she was aware how much painful surgery and physiotherapy lay ahead of her, and that it could be six months or more before she can walk again.

But she also knew she would be able to count on her friends at the hospital to provide her with the best possible medical care, and a bit of TLC whenever it was needed.

She said: “I was luckier than most of our patients because I had all my friends around me and they were always coming in to see me, but the other patients just have their family coming in during visiting hours.

“They are all my friends, I work with them every day and to be on the other side is so strange. If there is any good that comes out of this it will be that I will know what my patients go through.

Mrs Gavin of Fritton Close, Ipswich has visited her twice since the accident, and the two hope to remain good friends.

- A 79-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of failing to stop at a road accident on October 31, and is currently on police bail until December 2.