A man airlifted to hospital after breaking his back falling from a tree has come up with an unusual fundraising idea.
Jud Bruce, 47, plans to say ‘thank you’ to Yorkshire Air Ambulance – by selling a bird table made from the branches of the tree.
Farm worker Jud, of Mirfield, was climbing up to prune a tree in his garden when he stepped on a dead branch and fell almost 20ft.
He landed flat on his back, cracking a concrete slab in two.
Jud was flown to Leeds General Infirmary but scans revealed he’d been very lucky. He only broke a single vertebra in his spine.
Now facing up to two months off work, Jud has decided to make a bird table out of the ill-fated tree and auction it for the charity.
Jud, who has always crafted things out of wood, said: “The air ambulance was just fantastic and this is a way to give a bit back.
“I’m going to be off work a long time and this is also a way of keeping myself occupied. So far I’ve made the stand and hope it’ll all be completed in a couple of weeks.”
Jud is still to decide how to sell the bird table but reckons it could be by a silent auction where the buyer is chosen by the highest sealed bid.
Jud, married to Natalie, 46, told how the accident – reported by the Examiner at the time – happened on Mother’s Day last month.
He had been using a hand saw to cut the tree back earlier and had come down to call in to see his mother Marjorie, who lives next door, before going back out.
“I had seen this dead branch earlier but when I came back out I dashed up the tree and put my foot on the branch. It was just like balsa wood,” he said.
“There was no creaking or cracking, the branch just gave way.
“I fell backwards and landed flat on a concrete slab and broke it in two. The slab is on top of a stepped wall and I’m just grateful I didn’t land on one of the sharp edges.”
A mystery woman with a pram saw what happened and rushed to alert Natalie.
The woman had disappeared when paramedics arrived and Jud said: “I would love to find out who she is to say thank you.”
Jud said he was in agony after the fall. Paramedics gave him pain relief and he recalls fearing he might be paralysed.
Watch: Saw stuck in tree after Jud's fall
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“I was struggling to breathe and I was badly winded,” he said. “I was then given morphine or something similar and I was a bit spaced out after that.
“I was taken off in the air ambulance and remember panicking because it seemed that the engine was being switched off in no time. It was only three-and-a-half minutes to the LGI. It seemed so quick.
“The doctors told me it was a safe break which will knit together as long as I don’t do any lifting. If anything goes wrong it could take years and may need surgery.”
Jud expects to be off work for six to eight weeks.
The rescue was filmed by the BBC TV show Helicopter Heroes and could be featured in the series next autumn.