Mum of youngster who fell into Derbyshire reservoir backs Sheffield Children’s Hospital fundraising drive

Isabel Downes, 11, in hospital after her fall.
Isabel Downes, 11, in hospital after her fall.

A mum is backing a campaign to raise funds for a new Emergency Department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital after her daughter was treated at the unit when she tumbled into a Derbyshire reservoir.

Isabel Downes was on holiday with her family in the Peak District on Halloween last year when the accident took place.

An artist's impression of what the new unit would look like.

An artist's impression of what the new unit would look like.

On a visit to Ladybower reservoir, the 11-year-old and her younger sister Florence moved to the edge of the bank to peer at the drained reservoir. Isabel then lost her footing and fell.

Mum Vikki said: “All I heard was this almighty scream.

“My husband rushed down after her and I went to the visitor’s centre to call for help because there was no mobile reception”.

The impact of the fall meant that Isabel broke her left thighbone.

Isabel is now back at home after her treatment.

Isabel is now back at home after her treatment.

While dad Nick was able to get to retrieve her, they were unable to climb back out of the reservoir.

A mountain rescue team was called and an air ambulance followed shortl afterwards.

After lifting Isabel out of the reservoir, an air ambulance transferred Isabel to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Due to the difficulty reaching the youngster, more than two hours passed after the accident before they arrived at the Emergency Department, which meant that the team’s first priority was to ensure that Isabel remained warm.

“The staff got everything moving so quickly,” added Vikki.

“They put her in a hot blanket and got her temperature back up to where it should be.

“The surgeon who performed the operation was due to finish his shift, but he worked longer to help Isabel.

“Everyone at the Emergency Department was so welcoming and friendly.

“What I really appreciated as a parent was they were talking to Isabel directly and explaining to her what was going on- I’ve never known that before.”

The Children’s Hospital Charity have launched their Golden Hour Challenge in which supporters are being urged to raise £60- £1 for every minute in the Golden Hour, to help build the much-needed Emergency Department.

The Golden Hour is the first hour after a traumatic injury, when treatment is most effective.

Every pound raised, up to £20,000, will be doubled by Graham Royle of GRI Group and an anonymous donor.

The current Emergency Department was built to see a maximum of 32,000 patients each year, but now sees more than 60,000 every 12 months.

Isbael is one of many children who would benefit from the expansion, which would create space and privacy so that children receive care in the most appropriate setting.

Within two days of the accident, Isabel was home in Shropshire and returned to school the following week- finding her wheelchair was a surprising new source of popularity with her classmates.

“Everyone at school wants to push her, because it means they get out of classes early to get her to the next one on time,” said Vikki.

“She’s just started her first year and I already think she’s the most popular girl in the school.”

If you’d like to get involved in the fundraiser, visit and request a fundraising pack.