Councillor avoids death by inches in freak accident
PUBLISHED: 15:04 13 November 2007 | UPDATED: 23:08 28 May 2010
EXCLUSIVE by TOM JACKSON. FENLAND'S oldest district councillor avoided death by inches, when he was run over by one of his own tractors in a freak accident. Eighty-three-year-old Ray German spoke publicly today
for the first time about his accident, which left him with a
EXCLUSIVE by TOM JACKSON
FENLAND'S oldest district councillor avoided death by inches, when he was run over by one of his own tractors in a freak accident.
Eighty-three-year-old Ray German spoke publicly on Tuesday for the first time about his accident, which left him with a smashed elbow, broken ribs and one side of his body bruised. One of the tractor's rear wheels missed running over his head by inches.
"It's nice to be able to see the funny side of the accident, but it was serious," said Cllr German, district councillor for the Mills Ward.
He said the tractor, an Ursus C-385 which weighs about two-and-half tonnes, stood in his farmyard in London Road, Chatteris, for about three years.
Cllr German said: "I decided to clear up the yard and the tractor wouldn't start at first, but I finally got it working on three cylinders and it did a little job for me.
"On October 24, when I was heading into the house for some lunch, I decided to turn the key and see if it would still start, but it was left in gear.
"I reached into the right hand side of the tractor, where there were no steps because of the levers for the hydraulic system, and as soon as I turned the key it went like a bullet.
"I clawed round the other side of the tractor to get in using the step, but I fell off and the rear wheel ran over the left hand side of my body.
"It broke my ribs, smashed by elbow and turned the left hand side of my body black, but had I been three inches further to the left it would have ran over my head.
"At least I now know what size the tyre is on the tractor now - 16 x 9 x 38 - because I read it when it went by."
The tractor eventually smashed into two cars and into a shed in Cllr German's yard, before the engine stalled.
Cllr German, who has served on Fenland District Council for 32 years and serves the Mills Ward on Chatteris Town Council, spent about a week in Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon, with his injuries.
An RAF pilot in the Second World War, he was unable to lay Chatteris Town Council's wreath in Sunday remembrance service for the first time in more than 20 years.
But he said: "I am here to tell the tale - and I shall be getting rid of the tractor when I am better.