Hero James saves dads arm in farm accident

Eccleston farmer Thomas Aspden had his arm trapped in a hay bailer and his son James, eight, shut off the machine and saved the arm which was broken in five places. Thomas was airlifted to the hospital. James has been hailed a hero. Thomas, James and Thelma in Royal Preston Hospital
Eccleston farmer Thomas Aspden had his arm trapped in a hay bailer and his son James, eight, shut off the machine and saved the arm which was broken in five places. Thomas was airlifted to the hospital. James has been hailed a hero. Thomas, James and Thelma in Royal Preston Hospital
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An eight year-year-old schoolboy has been hailed a hero following a serious farming accident.

Young James Aspden dashed into action after his dad’s arm got stuck in a hay bailer.

The youngster, who was sat on a tractor with his father Thomas Aspden, immediately hit the stop button.

It’s likely his brave actions saved his 52-year-old father from losing the limb - or even his life.

The drama unfolded in a field on Back Lane, close to the Charnock Richard and Eccleston boundary, where pig farmer Thomas, who runs nearby Bates Farm, Bradley Lane, Eccleston, was working, accompanied by James.

The bailer developed a problem and started smoking and Thomas went to check.

But as he tried to sort it out, his arm got dragged in, almost up to his shoulder.

After the alarm was raised, two fire crews from Chorley, one from Burnley, the Urban Search and Rescue Team and paramedics rushed to the scene.

Thomas was released after a two-hour operation to free him and flown to Royal Preston Hospital where he underwent surgery on the arm.

Yesterday he was visited by his wife Thelma, 37, and James, who is a pupil at Eccleston St Mary’s Primary School.

Thelma said: “I was rowing up on the other side of the field on one tractor and Thomas and James were in the other tractor bailing.

“The first thing I knew was when James had run across the field to get me. Thomas was trapped in the bailer up to his arm.

“James stopped the PTO (switch off) - he turned it off three times in the tractor, he turned them all off, otherwise it would have pulled him (Thomas) right in, or his arm off.”

Despite his pain, Thomas gave his rescuers instructions on how to get him out of the bailer.

“It crushed his arm,” said Thelma, who praised “brave” James.

“It would have been a lot worse if he hadn’t done that,” she said.

“I think he was brave just to think to turn it off.

“I think he does know how to turn it off, but I don’t know if Thomas told him to do it and James can’t remember.

“I’m proud of him because Thomas might not be here - it could have been a lot worse.

“I think he saved his dad.”

James, who has his own little tractor and regularly helps out on the farm, said: “I pressed the button off and ran to mum and mum came over to the bailer then called the ambulance.”

The youngster, who said he “messes the pigs out” on the farm, said the incident was “scary” and “frightening”.

His older sister Abigail Aspden, 18, said: “James stopped the machine from working and went to get help.

“He’s amazing. I think he should get an award for this.

“He was calm at first but afterwards he was crying. I got him to a neighbour as quickly as possible to get him away from the situation.

“He couldn’t have done any better, it was quick reaction.”

Her partner Sam Anderton, 18, who helps out on the farm, said of James: “He’s the lad who saved the day.

“He’s a hero.”

The accident happened at about 6.30pm on Thursday.

Thomas’s arm was broken in five places. He is still recovering in hospital.