Dunmow nurse starts fundraising mission after suffering burns when strimmer exploded

PUBLISHED: 13:09 14 August 2015 | UPDATED: 13:09 14 August 2015

Katharine How just after the accident

Katharine How just after the accident

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A 49-year-old nurse from near Dunmow is organising a charity event to raise money for the burns unit who cared for her after suffering horrific injuries when a garden strimmer exploded in her face.

Katharine HowKatharine How

Katharine How, from Duton Hill, suffered third degree burns to her left upper body when her McCulloch petrol garden strimmer blew up as she pulled the cord to start it on April 7 this year.

Despite the horror of the incident, the theatre nurse bravely put herself into a cold shower before calling for an ambulance.

Mrs How then underwent four lots of surgery over a month at the St Andrews Burns Unit at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, including a painful skin graft operation on her arm and abdomen.

She is now hoping to raise as much money as possible for the unit, with a charity fun day at the Swan Inn, Felsted, on Saturday August 22, which will include a barbecue, raffle, Shetland pony rides, face painting and live music. Entry is £7.50 for adults and £4 for childen, which includes food.

Mrs How will also combine the day with her 50th birthday celebrations, a milestone that she is relieved to reach.

“I’m just so grateful to be here,” she said, “it was such a horrible thing to happen and has changed my life in many ways.

“I was very lucky not to be blinded, so if I can say one thing, it’s that it could have been much worse.

“The adult burns unit at Broomfield were fantastic, all the nurses and staff are fabulous and their help and support, along with that of my family, has kept me going.”

Mrs How, who is yet to go back to work at the Princess Grace Hospital in central London following the incident, also wants to raise awareness about garden equipment safety.

“People just don’t remember to check their tools from season to season, it goes in the shed and we forget about it. These things can be lethal without the correct care and attention so I would urge people to be very careful, particularly with older equipment like ours was.”

Mrs How has also set up a Just Giving page that has so far raised more than £700 and anyone wishing to donate can visit www.justgiving.com/kathys50th/.

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