Nothing hits home like a personal story delivered with raw detail and absolute honesty, and farm accident survivors Ann Doherty and William Sayers had everyone’s attention as they shared their experiences at Balmoral Show 2019.

ABP Food Group, one of Europe’s leading food processors, hosted Farm Accidents: A Survivor’s Perspective, in a bid to increase awareness of farm safety.

Held in association with the Farm Safety Partnership and farm accident support network Embrace Farm, the event saw Ann and William remembering the moment that changed their lives forever.

By doing so, they hoped that the dangers of farming would not be overlooked by the belief “it will never happen to me”, and that everyone will stop and think before they conduct work on the farm and with livestock.

From a dairy farm in Dunamanagh, Co Tyrone, William’s family are all too familiar with the life-changing consequences of a farm accident; his father lost his leg at the knee to a reaper and his uncle was killed in a tractor accident.

Pictured Brian Rohan Embrace Farm founder, TV presenter Paul Clark, George Mullan ABP MD, Ann Doherty, Harry Sinclair Chair Farm Safety Partnership and William Sayers. \ Peter Houston

At 12-years-old, William was spreading slurry with a friend on Easter Monday in 1990. He decided to adjust the PTO (power take off) shaft when his coat got caught and his arm was ripped from his body.

Speaking on stage, William admitted that like many farmers, he never thought it would happen to him.

“Don’t you think that it will never happen to you because that could be the rock that you perish on. I went out that day and never thought this would ever happen to me. It took one second to change my life forever and my family’s.

“We often say ‘it’s not my problem’, but every one of us has a part to play, we have a duty together to make this industry a safer place for everyone. If I can make a difference to one life being spared, the loss of my arm was worth it.”

In July 2009, Ann, who is from a farm in Kilkenny, was attacked by a bull. Cows had broken out on to a country road close to her home and she contacted her husband, who came to the scene to herd the cows off the road.

Ann opened the gate into the field but didn’t realise that a bull was present. He attacked her while Ann’s three children sat in the car.

The aftermath left Ann with a broken breast bone, three fractured ribs, a fractured wrist and a twisted pelvis; she also dealt with depression and says that the road to a full recovery is “still a work in progress.”

“For the sake of a few seconds, stop and think because your life is more important. Calculate ‘is it safe for me to do this, is it safer to do it a different way?’ Focus on what you’re doing and think of your family because it affects everybody not just you, so be as careful as you can.”

For more information on farm safety, visit the HSENI website and Embrace Farm's website.