Hastings man seriously injured in West Hill Lift fall calls for safety measures

A man who suffered serious injuries after falling down the West Hill Lift has called on the council to ensure it never happens again.

Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 11:00 am
Jasper Barnard pictured in his back garden next to West Hill Lift
Jasper Barnard pictured in his back garden next to West Hill Lift

Jasper Barnard, 73, said his life was changed forever after falling the significant height at 11.10pm on Monday, January 7.

Emergency services, including the air ambulance, were called to the bottom of the lift in George Street, Hastings, before Jasper – who runs the open mic at the Whistle Trago as well as the ukulele club at St Mary’s – was taken to Royal Sussex County Hospital by road ambulance.

He was placed in a coma for three months and then transferred to Conquest Hospital before he was released in May.

Jasper said he was looking for his dog before he fell on the evening of January 7.

He said: “When you go up the steps to the West Hill, on the right there’s some woods and it’s just open. My dog ran in there to the back and when I went in I fell down a great big hole and down the West Hill Lift.

“I told the council it’s going to happen again. I see people from the back of my house but I can’t shout up to them as that will make the situation worse.”

He told the council it needed to put up warning signs and rope the place off.

“When I talk to (the council) they just detract from the main issue. They just do not address the problem” he added.

Jasper said doctors were not expecting him to survive the night following his fall.

He said the injuries he sustained that night have left him unable to work or play guitar.

He added: “My future has been ruined. I can’t play my music at the moment. I know so many people and when I came back it was like the second coming.

“I just want to make sure nothing like this happens to anyone else.”

A spokesman for Hastings Borough Council said it would not be appropriate to comment on the circumstances of the incident due to an ongoing investigation by the insurance company.

At the time of the incident, the council said the West Hill lift was closed at the time, adding there was ‘no apparent reason’ for a person to be on its property.

On Monday (July 22), the spokesman added: “We have inspected the site very recently and the fence is intact and there is no access to the cliff railway.”

In the days following the incident, Jasper’s daughter praised the NHS for its ‘incredible’ care.

His daughter, who asked not to be named, said: “I would like to say the helicopter ambulance team were absolutely amazing and worked incredibly hard to look after him.

“The Brighton County Hospital doctors and nurses have also been incredible – not only are they obviously very caring for my dad and taking incredible care of him but they are very patient and kind with his family and friends.

“We can’t thank the NHS nurses/doctors and surgeons enough.

“They have been amazing. Their level of care is astounding and the patience they show.”

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