THE father of a girl who was injured in a fairground accident has thanked quick-thinking first aid volunteers for saving her finger.

Ella Sharman, seven, could not wait to try out some of the rides at Banbury’s Michaelmas Fair last Thursday.

According to her father Andy Sharman, of Foxwood Close, Banbury, it was the first time his daughter was big enough to go on some of attractions.

Oxford United mad Ella was eager to try ‘Froggit’, a ride which twirls riders around and into the air.

But her right index finger was injured when it became trapped between the safety bar and the lock. When it was released, Mr Sharman said the tip of his daughter’s finger was left ‘hanging’ by a thread.

He said: “She was so excited about going to the fair. She was on the ride with her friend and the friend’s mum.

“As soon as they shut the bar down we knew something was wrong and two of us ran over to try to stop the ride.

“She thought she had just trapped her hand in the lock.

“But when we released it her finger was just hanging off. It was horrific.”

Mr Sharman ran with his daughter to where he had earlier seen a St John’s Ambulance unit in Broad Street.

The team – Banbury unit leader David Wright and first aiders Angela Swann and Uways Pervez – pushed the two parts of her finger back together and used a piece of cardboard as a splint.

A St John ambulance crew then quickly took Ella to the town’s Horton Hospital.

Mr Sharman said: “Out of 10 you would give these guys 11.

“And to think they are only volunteers. They were just fantastic.

“Not only did they calm Ella down, but they calmed me down. If they hadn’t been there I don’t know what I would have done. We’ve been told Ella would have probably lost the top of her finger.”

Ms Swann said: “It was a distressing incident to deal with particularly as it involved a child. But our training kicks in and we just wanted to do the best we could for Ella.

“We’re glad she’s doing so well.”

Last night the Health and Safety Executive said it was investigating the incident.

When Oxford United heard about Ella’s injury, the club offered her a tour of the grounds and the chance to meet the team at Saturday’s game against Northampton.

St John county director of operations Andrew Dawson said: “We are very proud of our team.

“We are there to make a difference and we’re very glad of the fantastic difference we made to Ella.”

Bob Wilson Funfairs, which holds the fair licence, was unavailable for comment.

  • St John Ambulance teaches people first aid so they can offer medical support at public events. St John’s teams give their time for free.

There are St John Ambulance groups all round Oxfordshire and half of the members are aged under 18, with the Badgers for five to 10-year-olds, and Cadets for ages 10 to 18.

For more information, see the organisation's website.