Belfast Telegraph

Balmoral Show 2019: Farm accident survivor issues stark warning at safety event

Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

A Co Tyrone farm accident survivor has issued a stark warning on farm safety.

On the first day of the 2019 Balmoral Show, local meat processor ABP hosted a special event putting farm safety centre stage.

The audience, which consisted of ABP's farmer suppliers and stakeholders heard about the life-changing consequences of injuries sustained by two farm accident survivors.

William Sayers (41), the son of a dairy farmer from Donemana near Strabane, lost his arm when he was 12-years-old as a result of a farm machinery accident.

His father lost a leg when he was two-years-old in 1939 and his uncle, also William, died in a farming accident aged 25.

"It was Easter Monday, 1990 and I was out with a friend, Jonathan McLaughlin, working on the farm," said William.

"My dad George had always warned me about safety and after being called in to dinner, my mum told me to put a coat on if I was going back out. I did, but didn't pull the zip up. Simple as that.

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"It's a machine I'd used many times before. There was about two inches of an opening in the machinery on the back of my dad's tractor, a vacuum pump. My coat caught. I was pulled in. That should have been the end of me."

William's arm was gone, he suffered a head injury and the skin of his back was still attached to his coat when recovered later.

"It was traumatic," he said. "I remember my dad taking me to the hospital and at that stage he knew I was going to die. I was holding my shoulder. It felt like a piece of raw steak, but the shock had kicked in. The nerves were gone so there was no pain.

Pacemaker Press 15/5/19
Katie Millar with Gareth Elliott at The opening day of the Balmoral Show on Wednesday, Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend Ireland's largest agricultural and food show, over the next four days.
The show is taking place at the former Balmoral Park just outside Lisburn and features a mix of farming displays as well as family activities.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 15/5/19 Katie Millar with Gareth Elliott at The opening day of the Balmoral Show on Wednesday, Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend Ireland's largest agricultural and food show, over the next four days. The show is taking place at the former Balmoral Park just outside Lisburn and features a mix of farming displays as well as family activities. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Stunt motorcycle rider performing at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Stunt motorcycle rider performing at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Stunt motorcycle rider performing at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye DUP Leader Arlene Foster stops for a selfie at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye DUP Diane Dodds at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Pacemaker Press 15/5/19 The opening day of the Balmoral Show on Wednesday, Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend Ireland's largest agricultural and food show, over the next four days. The show is taking place at the former Balmoral Park just outside Lisburn and features a mix of farming displays as well as family activities. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 15/5/19 The opening day of the Balmoral Show on Wednesday, Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend Ireland's largest agricultural and food show, over the next four days. The show is taking place at the former Balmoral Park just outside Lisburn and features a mix of farming displays as well as family activities. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 15/5/19 Animals os show on The opening day of the Balmoral Show on Wednesday, Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend Ireland's largest agricultural and food show, over the next four days. The show is taking place at the former Balmoral Park just outside Lisburn and features a mix of farming displays as well as family activities. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
15/5/19: Julie Anne Clyde with her bull Nijinsky from Crawford Brothers, winner of the Senior Bull Class at the Balmoral Show. Picture: Michael Cooper
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank. Show cattle are brought out for their competition at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Pacemaker Press 15/5/19 The opening day of the Balmoral Show on Wednesday, Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend Ireland's largest agricultural and food show, over the next four days. The show is taking place at the former Balmoral Park just outside Lisburn and features a mix of farming displays as well as family activities. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 15/5/19 The opening day of the Balmoral Show on Wednesday, Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend Ireland's largest agricultural and food show, over the next four days. The show is taking place at the former Balmoral Park just outside Lisburn and features a mix of farming displays as well as family activities. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 15/5/19 Animals os show on The opening day of the Balmoral Show on Wednesday, Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend Ireland's largest agricultural and food show, over the next four days. The show is taking place at the former Balmoral Park just outside Lisburn and features a mix of farming displays as well as family activities. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 15/5/19 Katie Millar with her prize cattle at the opening day of the Balmoral Show on Wednesday, Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend Ireland's largest agricultural and food show, over the next four days. The show is taking place at the former Balmoral Park just outside Lisburn and features a mix of farming displays as well as family activities. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 15/5/19 The opening day of the Balmoral Show on Wednesday, Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend Ireland's largest agricultural and food show, over the next four days. The show is taking place at the former Balmoral Park just outside Lisburn and features a mix of farming displays as well as family activities. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 15/5/19 The opening day of the Balmoral Show on Wednesday, Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend Ireland's largest agricultural and food show, over the next four days. The show is taking place at the former Balmoral Park just outside Lisburn and features a mix of farming displays as well as family activities. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank. Show cattle are brought out for their competition at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank. Show pigs are brought out for their competition at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank. Show pigs are brought out for their competition at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank. The Sheep shearing competition takes place at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
15/5/19: Cattle judging at the Balmoral Show. Picture: Michael Cooper
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank. Pictured at Balmoral Park, outside Lisburn, is Jack Morton with his Jack's Fudge business. Ulster Bank has provided space in its market at Balmoral Show to entrepreneurs from Ulster Bank's Entrepreneur Accelerator programme as well as small business customers. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank. Pictured at Balmoral Park, outside Lisburn, are(L-R) Andy Laverty, David Knowles and Jonny Laverty with their sweet potato crisps business Wolf and Woodsman. Ulster Bank has provided space in its market at Balmoral Show to entrepreneurs from Ulster Bank's Entrepreneur Accelerator programme as well as small business customers. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank. Pictured at Balmoral Park, outside Lisburn, is Betty Rodgers with her creams and balms business A Blissful Blend. Ulster Bank has provided space in its market at Balmoral Show to entrepreneurs from Ulster Bank's Entrepreneur Accelerator programme as well as small business customers. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye General views. of Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Sam Beattie aged 2 from Tullyveery, Killyleagh at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Cattle at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Cattle judging taking place at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Alpacas at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
15/5/19: Competitors enjoy a cup of tea during a break in the cattle judging at the Balmoral Show. Picture: Michael Cooper
15/5/19: Cattle judging at the Balmoral Show. Picture: Michael Cooper
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Lesley Shields with daughter Paislee aged 18 months from Kilkeel at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Cattle judging taking place at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank. Pictured at Balmoral Park, outside Lisburn, is (L-R) Leanne(13) and her mother Ann Marie Laverty from Mayobridge, Co. Down, with Thompson's Teas Jamie Thompson. The mother and daughter were getting their Ulster Bank Food Trail card stamped. Customers can visit different stands in the food hall getting their cards stamp which can be entered into a free draw. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank. Pictured at Balmoral Park, outside Lisburn, is Ulster Banks Catherine McMullan at the start of Ulster Bank's Food Trail . Customers can visit different stands in the food hall getting their cards stamp which can be entered into a free draw. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank. Pictured at Balmoral Park, outside Lisburn, is Tara Mullan with her Refuge Hot Chocolate business. Ulster Bank has provided space in its market at Balmoral Show to entrepreneurs from Ulster Bank's Entrepreneur Accelerator programme as well as small business customers. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
15/5/19: Kids enjoy sitting in a PSNI tractor at the Balmoral Show. Picture: Michael Cooper
Naomi Alexander, Hannah Alexander, Zara Gabbry and Lucy Gabbey with Dexter Cattle, Ballyboley Dexters from Graeyabbey Co Down showing at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Ernest Gregg from Ballybollem Pedigree Livestock farm in Randalstown, Co. Antrim, pictured with his two-year-old bull Moore at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Briege Diamond Pointhouse Herd at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Jenna Hunter from Markethill enjoying the sunshine at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Billy Coote aged 3 from Dungannon at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Rosa Finnegan aged 2 from Co Louth at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Kieran Loughran aged 4 from Dungannon in the shovel of a CAT Wheel Loader , 18,849 kg, at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Erin Cunningham aged 2 from Armagh at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank: Showing cattle takes place in the main area at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank: Showing cattle takes place in the main area at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank: Showing cattle takes place in the main area at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank: Showing cattle takes place in the main area at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Horse show jumping takes place at the start of the show. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 Gates open for the first day of the Balmoral Show in partnership with Ulster Bank at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Lexie and Dorothy Johnston from Ballymacan Blondes Clogher Co Tyrone showing at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank. Ernest Gregg from Ballybollem Pedigree Livestock farm in Randalstown, Co. Antrim, pictured with his two-year-old bull Moore at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Andrew Davidson Gleno Valley YFCU receives his first prize in the Advanced Shearing competition from Zita McNaugher YFCU President at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
PressEye-Northern Ireland- 15th May 2019-Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Liam Kelly from Randalstown YFCU during the Advanced YFCU Final at Balmoral Park during the first day of the Balmoral Show 2019 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye
REPRO FREE. 15/5/19: Anthony Harbinson, Director of Safer Communities at the Department of Justice (left), visited the Balmoral Show to offer support and thank the many partner agencies who have joined forces to engage with the rural community to raise awareness of criminal activity and offer guidance on how to protect their property and report suspicious activity. He is pictured with Shelly Ann Grimes, PSNI Crime Prevention and (middle) Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts. Picture: Michael Cooper
REPRO FREE. 15/5/19: Anthony Harbinson, Director of Safer Communities at the Department of Justice, visited the Balmoral Show to offer support and thank the many partners who work with the DOJ on the Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF). The OCTF used the opportunity to highlight to the public the vulnerabilities exploited by Organised Crime Groups and provided advice and guidance on how to safeguard against crime and, importantly, to report crime. He is pictured with Detective Superintendent Rachel Shields Head of PSNI Organised Crime Task Force and (middle) Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts. Picture: Michael Cooper
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank: Sheep showing during the show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank: Sheep showing during the show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 15th May 2019 First day of the Balmoral Show, in partnership with Ulster Bank: Sheep showing during the show at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

"It's the knock-on effect that hits hard. My dad had invested a lot in the farm and that was to be my future as the only son. It was never going to happen. I thought about the simple things like would I be able to tie my laces, would I ever get a girlfriend?

"Accidents affect so many people so I'm using my experience to warn people to stop and take time to consider the dangers.

"I urge farmers to take five minutes, or whatever time it takes, to do the job at hand safely. It can make all the difference.

"Someone was looking after me that day and I'm here today in tribute to my mum Kathleen who passed away just last week."

Now married for 14 years to Elaine, William has three daughters and has been working in tractor sales for 25 years.

"There was no way I could go back on the farm," he said. "Those days were over before they even started. The whole family had to reassess, both career wise and financially.

"Over 100 people are injured on our farms every month in Northern Ireland, and if I've lost my arm so I can help bring that number down then it's worth it."

Also speaking was Ann Doherty, a mother of three from Kilkenny, who was attacked by a bull 10 years ago.

"Your whole life is affected - and your family's too," she said.

"The psychological impact is much harder to deal with than the physical impact. I wasn't able to talk about my accident for a long time but I am now able to share my story and I hope it helps encourage others to take more care on the farm.

"For the sake of a few minutes, put your phone down and concentrate on what you are doing."

Chairman of the Farm Safety Partnership, Harry Sinclair, said farming still has a poor safety record and there were too many accidents involving the main hazard areas of slurry, animals, falls and equipment.

"Taking a moment before starting a task may be the difference between losing life or limb," warned Mr Sinclair.

"We need to ask ourselves, is there anything else to do to make this work safer, such as getting help or using the right equipment?"

Belfast Telegraph

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