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‘Bionic man’ who survived horrific minibus crash is running marathon to support lifesavers

James Gorman is running the London Marathon this year in aid of the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance after he was seriously hurt in a minibus crash as a teenager in 1999
James Gorman is running the London Marathon this year in aid of the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance after he was seriously hurt in a minibus crash as a teenager in 1999

A solicitor who was dubbed the ‘bionic man’ after nearly losing his life in a minibus crash as teenager is attempting to raise £2,500 for our local air ambulance service.

James Gorman was on his way home from a trip to the south coast when the minibus he and fellow Oakham School pupils were travelling in overturned on the Newbury Bypass in Berkshire in March 1999.

James Gorman pictured in hospital shortly after the crash
James Gorman pictured in hospital shortly after the crash

He suffered serious head, collarbone, shoulder, elbow and hand injuries and lost six pints of blood.

Fortunately, the then 15-year-old’s life was saved by emergency services personnel who cut him unconscious from the wreckage and airlifted him to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford for emergency treatment.

Over the course of the following three years, James underwent close to 20 different operations to repair broken bones and reconstruct his scalp, plus skin grafts and muscle transplants.

He was dubbed the bionic man in reference to the significant amount of metal work required to repair his badly-broken bones.

Now 33, and working as a commercial dispute solicitor in London, James is preparing to run the London Marathon to support the life-saving work of air ambulance crews.

He said: “The emergency services personnel who helped me immediately after the crash saved my life. If they had arrived 20 minutes later I could have died.

“I have never forgotten the amazing support I was given and I hope that the funds I raise will be put to good use helping others in need of urgent medical assistance.”

James was airlifted to hospital by the Thames Valley Air Ambulance – but he has decided to support the Derbyshire, Rutland and Leicestershire Air Ambulance with his London Marathon sponsorship money.

He said: “My family moved to Oakham in 1994 and my parents Neil and Sue still live there. I went to Oakham School and still feel a strong connection with the town, regularly visiting.

“Although the Rutland and Leicestershire Air Ambulance did not help me personally, I know it does an amazing job helping people in times of need and is funded entirely by donations.

“I have a target of £2,500 but it would be great to raise even more. I have run a few half-marathons before but never a full marathon. I’ve been training pretty hard and hope it goes well on the day.”

James made an almost complete recovery from his injuries. He still has some shoulder problems but feels very lucky to have lived to tell his story.

He added: “When the minibus crashed we were on our way home from the south coast. The minibus was towing a trailer loaded with bikes which flipped and pulled the vehicle over.

“I had been asleep with my head against the window and took the full force of the impact. A teacher who had been a passenger helped me before the emergency services arrived.

“I missed a term of school after the crash and had to fit multiple operations around my school work over the following years. It was tough and disruptive. I have a lot of scars but count myself lucky I wasn’t more seriously hurt.”

After leaving Oakham School at 18, James took a gap year to complete his surgery before going on to study at Oxford Brookes University.

He now lives in Herne Hill, London, and works in the Mayfair office of law firm Freeths.

To support James with a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/James-Gorman-airambulance


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