YORK grandmother of eight Ann Wands, who escaped death when she fell from her garage loft, is to take part in the York 10K in aid of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance that helped save her life.

Ann, 69, a retired teacher from Acomb, fell 10ft from her garage loft, fracturing her skull, breaking 11 ribs and rupturing her spleen.

Her husband Alan discovered her lying on the concrete floor, covered in blood, and called 999. The air ambulance was called out and landed at nearby Acomb Green.

Ann was still conscious and very agitated so was deemed unsuitable to fly to the trauma unit at Leeds General Infirmary, so the doctor and paramedic from the air ambulance travelled with her to hospital by road, monitoring her all the way.

After hours of scans and keyhole surgery to repair her spleen Ann was put in the Intensive Care Unit.

When she came round a few days later she had only two thoughts: to get better for her soon-to-be-born grandchild, and to complete another 10k.

Just days before the fall, which happened when she slipped on a ladder leading to the garage loft, she had taken part in the York 10K.

And to celebrate her recovery and thank the air ambulance, she has amassed a group of friends and family – dubbed Ann's Army – to take part in this year's event on Sunday.

Ann, a former teacher at Westfield Primary, said: "I feel very lucky that the people from Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the LGI were able to save my life."

And she said the family now had a fixed ladder put in place in the loft. "Several of my friends said they will now think twice about going into the loft on their own." She acknowledges it could have been worse had husband Alan not been at home. The couple had been clearing out their loft space above the garage when the accident happened.

Ann has no recollection of the incident, so Alan tells the story. "I was in the garden and heard the ladder clattering down. I rushed to the garage and the ladder and Ann were both on the concrete floor. There was blood around her face, but it was difficult to see where it was coming from. I immediately called 999."

He added: "Ann was semi conscious and trying to crawl and I had the lady on the phone telling me to make sure she didn't move. It was difficult."

When the ambulance arrived, paramedics decided Ann's injuries were serious enough to warrant calling out the air ambulance.

"They asked me if there was somewhere for the air ambulance helicopter to land and I said there was a green at the end of the road in Acomb."

In the end, Ann didn't travel in the air ambulance – but it played a vital role in saving her life by getting medical experts to her quickly at home in York. "The doctor and the paramedic from the air ambulance took over her care and travelled with her by road to the LGI," explained Alan.

Ann's recuperation was long. In hospital, she contracted pneumonia and a urinary tract infection. She was eventually discharged from hospital after 11 days with so many drugs they had to produce a spreadsheet to keep track of them.

But she was determined to get back on her feet again – and fighting fit.

"They said I couldn't be discharged until I could walk up one flight of stairs so I went up and down the stairs at the LGI in order to get home," said Ann.

Doctors were impressed by her recovery; her orthopaedic surgeon said people died after falls from lofts. "When I went to see him he said he didn't think he would see me walk through the door because I was so seriously ill. He said: 'I didn't know if we could save you'."

She said she was determined to get well in time for the birth of her youngest grandchild: Bella, who was born last November – in Ann's presence. "I have been to the birth of all of my grandchildren, it is a family tradition," she said.

It helped that she was fit before the accident. "They said if I hadn't been so fit it could have been a different story," said Ann, who swims regularly at York Sport and walks every day. For the past two years, she and a group of family and friends have taken part in the York 10K.

On Sunday, she will be doing so again, this time with a gang of 32, all proudly wearing a yellow vest saying "Ann's Army" in aid of Yorkshire Air Ambulance. They have already reached their target of £1,000, but welcome more donations.

"It costs £12,000 a day to run the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, so every pound is welcome," said Ann.

Film crews have visited Ann in York to film her for a forthcoming episode of Helicopter ER on the Really channel. Ann said she was happy to take part to promote the work of the air ambulance service.

And she is delighted that she has been able to persuade the organisers of the York 10K to adopt Yorkshire Air Ambulance as one of its partner charities.

She said: "I am chuffed they are to be recognised as a partner charities. Through something horrible we have achieved something really good."

If you would like to sponsor Ann's Army in the 10K and support the work of Yorkshire Air Ambulance you can donate at virginmoneygiving.com/Team/AnnsArmy