Mum and daughter’s fundraising push after Chelker Reservoir crash rescue drama

Draughton family's special ‘thank you’ to life-saving crew

Denise Hirst with her mother, 89-year-old Trudy Murgatroyd, are raising money for the air ambulance after they were rescued from a terrifying crash at Chelker Reservoir

Trudy Murgatroyd’s facial injuries

The wreckage of Denise Hirst’s Land Rover

First published in Local news Ilkley Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A mother and daughter are campaigning to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance almost six months after their car plunged into the Chelker Reservoir in an horrific accident.

Denise Hirst struggled to keep her then 88-year-old mother’s head above water when their Land Rover left the A65, smashed through a drystone wall and ended up on its side in several feet of water. Trudy Murgatroyd suffered serious head injuries in the terrifying accident on May 15.

Emergency staff took the swift decision to scramble the air ambulance helicopter and fly her to Leeds General Infirmary for urgent treatment.

Now the mother and daughter, of Draughton, near Addingham, are planning a fundraising sale to help keep the life-saving service in the air.

She said: “It was an horrific accident. “We want to thank the air ambulance for the life-saving help they gave to us. It makes us feel we’d like to give something back.”

The charity-funded helicopter costs more than £7,000 to operate every day.

The sale, in aid of the air ambulance charity and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service Charitable Fund, will take place at Draughton Village Hall from 1.30pm to 4.30pm on December 1.

It will include stalls selling cashmere wear and accessories, plants, preserves, CDs and other goods, together with a fundraising silent auction. Mrs Hirst is also inviting local businesses to make donations for the auction.

Mrs Hirst, 55, was herself taken to Airedale General Hospital for treatment after the accident.

As a driver who had used the road for 30 years without incident, she is supporting a push by Draughton Parish Council for better safety measures on the A65 alongside the reservoir.

Councillors will study road accident figures for the A65 at its next meeting on Wednesday.

Both Mrs Hirst and Mrs Murgatroyd, now 89, are recovering from their ordeal.

“We’re very grateful to be alive, that’s what we’re trying to focus on,” said Mrs Hirst.

E-mail her at to make a donation to the charity auction.

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