Great Cornard: Nurse injured in pub explosion 'lucky to be alive'

By Charlie Jones
BBC News

Published
Image source, Ashleigh Charlesworth
Image caption,
Ashleigh Charlesworth is a children's nurse and had just moved to the village near Sudbury

A nurse who was put on a ventilator after she was injured when a heater exploded at a pub feels "lucky to be alive", her father said.

Ashleigh Charlesworth, 27, suffered burns to her face, hands and chest during the incident at the Kings Head, in Great Cornard, Suffolk on 24 April.

She was still in "considerable pain" in hospital but was trying to be positive, her father Paul Charlesworth said.

Police said a man was interviewed voluntarily regarding the incident.

Image source, Ashleigh Charlesworth
Image caption,
She was at a pub (not pictured here) with friends when the incident happened

The paediatric nurse, who had recently moved out of her father's home in Colchester, Essex, to Great Cornard, is finding it hard to adjust to being cared for, he said.

"Ashleigh is such a caring person and has always wanted to be a children's nurse," said Mr Charlesworth.

"She is so used to caring for other people that she is finding it hard to accept that she is the one who now needs to be looked after."

Ms Charlesworth was on a ventilator for two days at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, because doctors were worried about her lungs.

Image source, Ashleigh Charlesworth
Image caption,
Ashleigh Charlesworth had always wanted to be a nurse and is more used to caring for others, her family said

She had a skin graft on her hands and was given a mask to help heal her facial burns.

Her cousin, who asked not to be named, is also still in hospital, while a man in his twenties has been discharged.

Police said the portable heater, which contained a liquid fuel, was brought to the pub by a customer.

Officers said inquiries were ongoing, but no arrests had been made.

Image source, Ashleigh Charlesworth
Image caption,
She suffered burns to her hands, chest and face in the incident
Image caption,
A police cordon was put in place following the explosion

Mr Charlesworth said: "This is only just sinking in for Ashleigh, she is trying to put a brave face on, but I think it will have a psychological effect on her.

"She had just bought her house and everything was going so well for her."

Ashleigh's family has created a Go Fund Me page so people can donate to help her while she recovers, which has raised more than £2,000.

Image caption,
The explosion happened in an outside area of the pub

Find BBC News: East of England on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have a story suggestion email eastofenglandnews@bbc.co.uk