NHS hero injured in pub explosion feels 'lucky to be alive'

Ashleigh Charlesworth suffered burns on her face, hands and chest

Ashleigh Charlesworth suffered burns on her face, hands and chest - Credit: Paul Charlesworth

A paediatric nurse from Sudbury who suffered life-changing injuries in an "explosion" at a pub in Great Cornard feels "lucky to be alive", her father has said.

Ashleigh Charlesworth, aged 27, is still receiving treatment at Broomfield Hospital for the burns she suffered on her hands, chest and face after a portable heater exploded at the Kings Head pub on Saturday, April 24.

Paul Charlesworth, Ashleigh's father, said she is trying to stay positive and is in relatively high spirits, but is unsure when she will be able to come home. 

Ashleigh Charlesworth suffered life changing injuries after an explosion at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard last month

Ashleigh Charlesworth suffered life-changing injuries after an explosion at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard last month. - Credit: Paul Charlesworth

He said: "Ashleigh was put on a ventilator because her windpipe had swollen up and her airway was blocked. 

"On Friday she had a skin graft operation on her hands, and they moved the pads from her face and chest, and she was quite shocked to see how she looked.

"I think this is the moment reality set in."

Mr Charlesworth has since been to visit his daughter in hospital and said, "she looks much better".

He described his daughter as an "NHS hero" for her work at Colchester Hospital during the pandemic, and said she loves children and has always wanted to be a paediatric nurse.

A forensics van parked outside the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard

A forensics van parked outside the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard - Credit: Johnny Griffith

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Mr Charlesworth said: "She told me that being on the receiving end of all the care will help her in the future as a nurse, because she understands much more about how people feel and what is involved.

"This is Ashleigh all over. 

"She always wants to help people, which I say is one of her problems as sometimes she does not think of herself, she always goes in headfirst when helping others."

The 27-year-old moved to Sudbury from Colchester at the end of March, and Mr Charlesworth said that everything was "just starting to work for Ashleigh." 

Ashleigh Charlesworth is not sure when she will be able to return home from Broomfield Hospital after suffering the burns

Ashleigh Charlesworth is not sure when she will be able to return home from Broomfield Hospital after suffering the burns - Credit: Paul Charlesworth

She suffered the injuries after a portable fuel heater which contained lighter fluid exploded at the pub.

The police and pub have since confirmed that the heater did not belong to the business and was brought onto the premises without staff knowledge.  

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: "No arrests have been made or charges.

"However, a man has been interviewed voluntarily regarding the incident. Enquiries are ongoing in regard to the circumstances."

Ashleigh Charlesworth is a children's nurse from Colchester Hospital and also helped out on the Covid wards

Ashleigh Charlesworth is a children's nurse from Colchester Hospital and also helped out on the Covid wards during the pandemic - Credit: Paul Charlesworth

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