Festival explosion victim from Milton Keynes spreads her safety message

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A festival reveller who suffered 28 per cent burns when a gas cannister exploded is sending a safety message to her fellow music-lovers this summer.

Georgina Chalmers was at Bestival Festival in Dorset when she went to pierced a new gas cannister, the size of a coffee cup, so that she could cook lunch.

But instead she suffered burns up from the right foot to her backside, along from her hand to her shoulder, along her back, and to her face and ears, as well as singeing her hair and leaving her with no eyebrows or lashes. She spent two weeks in hospital and is still suffering the physical affects of the incident.

She said: “We were making lunch and I had to change the cannister on the stove - it was new, and was one of those cannisters without a safety valve you have to pierce. I pieerced it, but then I couldn’t get it to click in.

“Gas started coming out and I didn’t know what to do.Then it set alight, and the whole thing was on fire. It was scary.

“If there had been a safety valve then there wouldn’t have been a problem.”

27-year-old Georgina, who lives in Wolverton, was volunteering at Bestival as a children’s entertainer. Although other revellers rushed to her aid, when paramedics arrived she was airlifted to hospital in Bristol, before being taken closer to home at Stoke Mandeville Hospital where she stayed for two weeks.

Georgina’s injuries meant that she needed physiotherapy to learn to walk again, and she will still have to wear factor 50 sun cream this summer to protect the skin on one of her legs.

She said: “People were amazing, they came with buckets of water, even some people with watering cans, and put me out. It wasn’t until I was in the air ambulance that I realied how serious it was.

“When I was in hospital I had to be fed by tube, and was wrapped in so many bandages I looked like an Egyptian mummy.

“I have been to festivals all over the UK and in Europe and I used to be a girl guide. I was just making lunch, not drinking or doing anything in the dark.

“Anyone going to festivals this summer, who takes a gas cannister, make sure that you get one that is safe. Just because you can buy a canister without a safety valve doesn’t mean it is safe to use. If you’ve got a piercable canister please don’t use it, it isn’t work the risk.”