Published Date: 05 June 2010
A FORMER steelworker aged 92 is "lucky to be alive" today - after a runaway farm trailer careered loose from a tractor and smashed into the front of his bungalow.Fred Cheetham was enjoying a quiet afternoon sitting in his favourite chair in his living room when the 25ft trailer - which had broken away from its tractor unit - crashed into his property, launching him from his armchair.
Fred's son Stuart Cheetham, 60, says his startled dad is "shaken up" but unhurt by the freak accident, and called his lucky escape "a miracle".
Stuart said the trailer disconnected from the tractor as it was travelling up High Street onto Haugh Road in Rawmarsh, Rotherham, before hurtling around 40 yards down an incline and crashing into his dad's home in High Street.
"He's lucky to get away with his life," said Stuart. "His home is at the corner at the top of High Street. The trailer ran back down the hill, then straight into the bungalow.
"The front of the bungalow is crushed, it's pushed everything inside. My dad was sitting in the corner at the side of the window - the force actually spun his chair around where he was sitting!
"It's a miracle he's alive."
Stuart, who lives in Thrybergh, was visiting his dad at the time of the accident, and said he heard a "big explosion" as the trailer crashed into the bungalow.
"It was a fairly big bang, it just sounded like a big explosion. I was in the passage leading from the front door, and as soon as it happened I screamed and went to see if he was alright.
"He seemed to be okay. It was me that was shocked, more so than my dad."
Stuart said the impact sent bricks and masonry flying down the passageway, and that he was hit by a concrete breezeblock, but escaped injury.
Fred was born in Rawmarsh in 1917, and worked at Parkgate Iron and Steel before moving to Blackpool with his wife, Stella, in 1969. Within months, she died tragically of leukaemia aged 45, leaving Fred a widower for over 40 years.
"He's lived through nearly two world wars," said Stuart, the youngest of their three sons. "We fetched him back to Rawmarsh two-and-a-half years ago to live near us."
Fred will now be moved to emergency accommodation while his bungalow is repaired.
"He's got to move out of his home now, it's too dangerous for him to stay," Stuart said.
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