M3 crash survivor to lead the pack at Dash in the Dark

In July 2021, 63-year-old Gwen Rickman nearly lost her arm when she aquaplaned off the M3 by Winchester.

As a way of saying thank you to the charity that saved her life, against all odds, Gwen will be attempting to complete the charity’s 5km night-time fun run, Dash in the Dark. Gwen and her family will be leading the pack, proudly sporting runner number 1.

When crews from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance arrived by Gwen’s side, she had no recordable blood pressure. When she was eventually freed from the wreckage, Gwen was flown to University Hospital Southampton, where she stayed in intensive care for three days and in hospital for a further three and a half weeks.

A team of paramedics, doctors, police and fire service in a field with a helicopter in the background

The crew on scene attending to Gwen

Gwen had fractured her pelvis and fifth metacarpal, broke her eighth rib and cracked two others, punctured a lung and had an open fracture to her right humerus. The open fracture in her arm required reconstructive surgery and intensive physiotherapy.

Gwen said: “Without the Air Ambulance, I wouldn’t be alive today. I feel honoured to be here; I’m a very lucky lady. I never thought I would need them. Hopefully I won’t need them again, but you never know.”

To show her appreciation for the service who was there for her when she needed them, Gwen, her family and friends are taking part in Dash in the Dark: a 5K on Southampton Common on Saturday 24 September.

She added: “If I can raise money to help keep them flying, then I will. We are all so grateful to them for keeping me alive. I will never be able to thank them enough.”

Check in on the night will open at 6pm. The warm-up will start at 7pm, with the 5km dash beginning at 7.15pm, as darkness falls.

The route is softly lit and paved throughout, though head torches are essential.

All participants will receive a free Dash in the Dark T-shirt and a glow in the dark medal at the finish line.

More than 300 tickets have now been sold for the night-time event. Tickets can be purchased via the charity’s website.