24 Hours in A&E: Mum praises Nottingham surgeons who saved son's sight after archery demonstration went awry

"I think I've been very lucky, but what this experience has taught me is to not do archery" (Credit: Channel 4)"I think I've been very lucky, but what this experience has taught me is to not do archery" (Credit: Channel 4)
"I think I've been very lucky, but what this experience has taught me is to not do archery" (Credit: Channel 4) | Channel 4
Warning: This article contains graphic details some readers may find unsettling

A mum has praised Nottingham surgeons who operated on her son after an arrow went into his eye during an archery demonstration.

James, 17, and his mum Sara, from Preston, were on holiday in Sherwood Forest when the accident happened three years ago.

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James's treatment featured on Channel 4's 24 Hours in A&E on Tuesday night after her son had surgery in Nottingham. Recalling the accident back in September 2021, Sara said James was "crumpled on the floor and holding his left eye." "I ran over to him and it was just horrific. The blood was pouring out of his eye, out of his nose, it was just everywhere," she said. There's nothing worse than seeing your own child bleeding and injured."

An arrow went into James's eye during an archery demonstration in Sherwood Forest (credit: Channel 4) An arrow went into James's eye during an archery demonstration in Sherwood Forest (credit: Channel 4)
An arrow went into James's eye during an archery demonstration in Sherwood Forest (credit: Channel 4) | Channel 4

James was 15 when the accident happened.

The instructor, who Sara describes as "wonderful", fired an arrow into his target as a demonstration. When it was safe to, James bent down to pick up his arrows - but the back of an arrow in the target went into his eye, just above the eyelash band breaking one of the ocular bones.

Sara said: "I was absolutely terrified and upset on the inside, but on the outside, you go into trauma mode.

"When it happened, time slowed down. I just remember getting James into the back of the ambulance."

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Sara explained how James was "so scared" and kept saying "what if I will be blind", but because he has autism, he processes emotion and pain differently. She said: "Autism is just a different way that the brain works. We've always been very positive about it. It's not a negative thing."

James underwent an operation to repair the damage to his eyelid.

James's mum Sara (Credit: Channel 4)James's mum Sara (Credit: Channel 4)
James's mum Sara (Credit: Channel 4) | Channel 4

Sara said: "His sight is fine thanks to the work they did in the hospital...they got him into surgery really fast, the next day."

As the show is filmed in advance, he is now in college and has a tiny scar where he was injured.

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James said: "I don't know what I would have done if I had lost my sight in one eye.

"It's a really difficult thing to think of, losing something that you're used to always having.

"I think I've been very lucky, but what this experience has taught me is to not do archery."

An earlier version of this story appeared on our sister title the Lancashire Post.

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