A man who faced death in a road crash four years ago was reunited with his rescuers on Norfolk Day. 

Ray Fretwell was driving his car towards Fakenham on the A148 when he was involved in a collision with an articulated lorry in December 2019. 

Carl Smith, a critical care paramedic from Dereham-based Norfolk Accident Rescue Service (NARS), was among the first on the scene. 

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Dereham Times: NARS opened its Dereham headquarters for Norfolk DayNARS opened its Dereham headquarters for Norfolk Day (Image: Supplied by Steve Maddams)

Mr Smith said: “When I arrived, the scene was absolute mayhem. Ray was trapped in his car and was very seriously injured.

"He had pelvic injuries, chest injuries and a large wound to the head that he was bleeding from. Time was of the essence and we needed to get him out fairly quick.”

Along with firefighters from Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, Mr Smith had the roof of Mr Fretwell’s car cut away so he could be lifted out and rushed to hospital.

He was later told he would have died if the rescuers were 20 minutes later to the scene because he had been bleeding so much. 

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NARS opened up its rescue centre off Hall Lane for Norfolk Day, allowing dozens of visitors to see the service’s five response vehicles, talk to volunteers, and learn CPR.

Donations were also made on the day, including £1,800 on behalf of Mr Fretwell, and £2,000 raised at the Dersingham Charity Fun Day in May. 

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Steve Maddams, from NARS, said he was delighted at the response to the open day.

He said: “It was great to see a range of people, from young to old. Hopefully it will inspire more people to learn CPR, which is a lifesaving skill that anyone can have." 

NARS was founded in 1970s, and is made up of around 50 people, which includes doctors, paramedics, nurses and first responders.