A casual cycle along the A27 to take some video of the Shoreham airshow in 2015 landed Thomas Millburn at the centre of a national disaster.
The 26-year-old software engineer from Shoreham suffered second degree burns after the plane crashed just a few hundred metres away from where he was standing – but if it was not for the help of first aiders at the British Red Cross, Thomas said his injuries could have been ‘much more serious’.
Thomas is now ‘proud’ to have now signed up to be a community reserve volunteer with the organisation.
He said: “I feel good to sign up to something to help and give back and I think it’s something that I’ll be proud to help the British Red Cross with.”
Thomas described feeling ‘intense heat’ on the August day as the plane hit the road and bits of debris flew past him.
“I thought ‘I’m not sure I’m going to make it out of this alive’,” he said.
He ran away towards the airfield where some people from the RAF helped by pouring water over the burns on his hands, right arm, left leg, back and neck.
The British Red Cross ambulance came across the airfield and volunteers checked Thomas’ vital signs, temperature, blood pressure and pulse, and made sure he was alright.
“I was very grateful that they were there,” he said.
Community reserve volunteers are called to help assist in emergencies like the Shoreham Airshow tragedy, in which eleven men died.
Volunteers do not need any specialist skills and any training will be given at the scene of a crisis.
They will be contacted in the event of an emergency and can confirm their availability.
Thomas said: “I think the community reserve volunteer scheme is a really great idea because not everyone has the time to volunteer on a weekly or monthly basis.
“But people do want to get involved when something major happens.”
To find out more or to sign up, visit the British Red Cross community reserve volunteer website here