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Racing columnist in intensive care after freak accident

An award-winning racing columnist for a regional daily was treated in intensive care in hospital after suffering a freak accident while cutting grass.

Tom O’Ryan, left, who writes a daily column for The Press in York, suffered a broken pelvis, two fractured vertebrae, internal bleeding and a possible broken hip after being hit in the back by a flying fence post.

The incident took place on Wednesday at his home in Brawby, near Malton, when tape became tangled in cutters attached to a tractor, which he was using to cut grass.

It is understood that he has now been moved out of intensive care to an orthopaedic ward at Hull Royal Infirmary, where he is due to have surgery.

Tom, who is a former jockey, also works for other media including the Racing Post and is a long-standing columnist for The Press.

Press sports editor Stuart Martel said: “Everyone at The Press was shocked to hear of Tom’s accident and we wish him well with his recovery.

“He’s an institution in northern racing circles, and his daily tips and previews are hugely popular with our racing readers. Hopefully, he will be back soon.”

His partner Wendy Barry told the paper that Tom was in good spirits in hospital but could not remember the accident.

She said: “He was on the tractor cutting grass and got off to to move some tape he did not want to get tangled in the cutters.

“But by moving it, he managed to do what he tried to avoid. It pulled it taut and pulled the fence-post out of the ground or snapped it, and it hit him in the middle of the back.

“They said he was very lucky he was not facing it, because it could have been a lot worse, and also that it did not hit him in the head.

“He is in good spirits but he cannot believe it happened.”

Following the accident, Tom managed to alert his partner and an air ambulance took him to York for emergency treatment before he was transferred to Hull.

The Press is using PA copy for Tom’s racing column in his absence.