A YOUNG farmer from Upper Eden says he has been ‘overwhelmed’ by messages of goodwill after losing his right hand while working with a forage harvester.

Ashley Herbert, 24, was on a farm at Cliburn near Penrith when his hand became caught in the machine.

Mr Herbert was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle where doctors were unable to save his right hand. He is now recovering at his home in Appleby.

The incident prompted a safety warning from the NFU and Health and Safety Executive officials launched an investigation into the circumstances.

Mr Herbert, a member of Eden Valley Young Farmers’ Club, is a former pupil at Appleby Grammar School. He went on to study at the Univeresity of Cumbria.

He took to Facebook to thank well-wishers following the incident, which occurred on July 22, close to his birthday.

He confirmed he had lost his right hand ‘at the wrist’, adding: “I was rushed to hospital by the air ambulance were I later had surgery, yesterday (July 25) I had the bandages off for the first time and everything seems to be healing just nicely so fingers crossed (on my remaining hand) I'm on the fix!

“I’ve been overwhelmed by messages, cards, text and phone calls of love and support - it all means the world to me and is helping drag me through it!

“Thank you to those who've stopped to talk to me on the phone and sorry to the calls I’ve missed.”


Derek Lomax, the NFU’s group secretary in Kendal, said: “The NFU meets with its members regularly to discuss the importance of on-farm safety and we produce a number of safety-related briefings and business guides to help identify risks. These are available to members via our website.

“It is vital that everyone in the industry plays their part - simple measures like telling someone what you are doing, taking a charged mobile phone in your pocket and knowing that a 999 call doesn’t need signal from your provider can save your life.

“The NFU is committed to helping to reduce accident statistics and believe that a good safety record is proof of a professional, modern industry.”