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 Officers catch up with skating teen who has had to restart her life


Rachel Sheldon, from Coxhoe, fell off her skateboard on the afternoon of Saturday, September 14 and suffered serious head injuries as a result.

PC Rachel Westgarth and PC Hilary Rice were first to arrive at the scene and managed to quickly identify Rachel by speaking to worried members of the public.

The officers were swiftly joined by paramedics and colleagues from the Great North Air Ambulance Service who airlifted the 16-year-old to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, where she was put into an induced coma.

Rachel has since had to learn how to walk, talk and eat again due to the nature of her head injury but is on the road to recovery and is determined to get back on her skateboard.

Rachel’s mother, Tracey Sheldon, said: “I am so grateful to PC Westgarth and PC Rice for everything they did on that day and the care they showed towards Rachel.

“The dedication they have to the job is amazing – they helped save my daughter’s life that day - police often get bad press but they were outstanding.”

PC Rice and Westgarth paid a visit to the Rachel last week and unbeknown to her, they came bearing gifts in the shape of a skateboard.

PC Westgarth said: “This was an extremely challenging incident from start to finish, it was difficult to identify Rachel due to her having no ID on her and her mobile phone was locked making it difficult to access.

“The community in Coxhoe really came together and it was a pleasure to watch the local people help identify Rachel.

“The air ambulance team and paramedics were a god send. As response officers, we don't always get to see the outcome of some incidents we deal with but it was a pleasure to meet Rachel and her family upon returning to her home after this traumatic event.

“Rachel is the most positive young woman I have met to this day and is surrounded by a loving family. We have, however, offered her our only advice which is: ‘Always wear a helmet!'".