Two cousins have shown off their miraculous recovery one year after they suffered horrific facial burns when a pub heater exploded.
Ashleigh and April Charlesworth, aged 28 and 29, from Sudbury, Suffolk, were both scalded when a fireball engulfed them in a beer garden.
Now – one year on from the ordeal – the pair have shared pictures of themselves as they document their recovery.
Both have undergone intense rehab to overcome facial scarring.
Cousins, Ashleigh and April Charlesworth have shared their miraculous recovery after being horrifically burned in a pub garden
Both cousins were hospitalised with severe burns to their hands and face. Ashleigh pictured during her injuries and after recovery
Recovery is ongoing for the pair who are about to start 18 months of laser treatment to reduce scarring. Pictured: April in the hospital following the accident
Pictured before the accident, the cousins were engulfed in flames after someone poured alcohol on an open flame heater
Ashleigh said: ‘Some people look at the photos and can’t believe it’s been a year.
‘Me and April live five minutes away from each other so we’ve been going through it together.
‘We always say we’re glad we can deal with it together.’
The cousins were celebrating April’s 28th birthday at the Kings Head pub in Great Cornard, Suffolk when a portable heater exploded on April 24 last year.
The pair were rushed to hospital with severe burns where they remained for weeks receiving treatment and recovering
Before the accident Ashleigh was working as a nurse but has been forced to become a clinician for the NHS 111 service due to her injuries. Pictured before their injuries
Police are still investigating the explosion because it is claimed someone threw alcohol on to the flame, creating a huge fireball.
Both cousins were hospitalised with severe burns to their hands and face.
Ashleigh said that she was initially self-conscious of her injuries but returned to the gym five weeks later and is now comfortable with her scars.
She said: ‘I’m more appreciative of my skin and I’m not afraid to show off my scars.
Ashleigh is now cautious around drunk people and doesn’t go ‘out out’. If she does she makes sure she’s fully aware of what’s going on around her. Pictured after injuries
‘Now people who look at me and I’ll be like, “Yeah, I’ve got a scar, do you want to talk about it?'”.
‘Me and April went to London recently for a photoshoot and we didn’t wear make up and it was fine.
‘I definitely wouldn’t have done that even before the injuries.’
Ashleigh was working as a nurse but has been forced to become a clinician for the NHS 111 service due to her injuries.
Ashleigh and April have racked up thousands of Instagram followers by sharing candid pictures of their injuries and rehabilitation. Pictured before their injuries
April, a mum-of-one, said that she had struggled to ‘readjust to normal life’ since the incident.
She said: ‘It was difficult to readjust to normal life. It still is.
‘I still don’t like going out by myself, it completely changed me as a person even now, and it will be a year on Sunday.
‘It’s OK to have bad days, I still have bad days. It’s important to accept hard times – it does get better.’
Asheligh’s burns covered her hands and face. She was initially self-conscious of her injuries but returned to the gym five weeks later and is now comfortable with her scars
April, pictured before the incident, admits that she’s struggled to readjust to normal ife since, and still has bad days
Ashleigh and April have racked up thousands of Instagram followers by sharing candid pictures of their injuries and rehabilitation.
Ashleigh said that recovery is ongoing and that they are about to start 18 months of laser treatment to reduce scarring.
She added: ‘Mentally it’s been difficult. It’s taken a lot of reflection to know that I’m still here and alive.
‘I get a bit cautious around drunk people. I don’t really go “out out”. If I go out I make sure I’m fully aware of what’s going on around me.
Ashleigh and April are fundraising for the Katie Piper Foundation, a burns rehabilitation charity that has supported them
‘I used to be more wild and carefree but now I’m more cautious.’
Ashleigh and April are fundraising for the Katie Piper Foundation, a burns rehabilitation charity that has supported them.
On April 30, they will climb Scafell Pike – England’s highest mountain – and hope to raise £5,000.
Their fundraising page can be found here.
BURNS – WHAT ARE THEY, AND HOW DO YOU TREAT THEM?
Burns are damage to the skin caused by dry heat, such as an iron or a fire.
This is different to scalds, which occur due to wet heat like hot water or steam.
Burns can be very painful and may cause:
- Red or peeling skin
- White or charred skin
But the amount of pain a person feels is not always related to how serious the burn is.
Even a very serious burn can be painless.
To treat a burn:
- Remove the heat source
- Cool with cool or lukewarm running water for 20 minutes. Do not use ice
- Remove any nearby clothing or jewellery unless it is stuck to the skin
- Keep the person warm with a blanket
- Cover the burn with clingfilm
- Use painkillers like paracetamol if necessary
- If the face or eyes are burnt, keep sitting up to reduce swelling
Burns that require immediate A&E treatment are:
- Chemical or electrical
- Large or deep – bigger than the injured person’s hand
- Those that cause white or charred skin
- Those on the face, hands, limbs, feet or genitals that blister
Pregnant women, children under five, the elderly, those with a weak immune system and people suffering from a medical condition, like diabetes, should also go to hospital.
Treatment depends on what layers of the skin are affected.
In severe cases, a skin graft may be required.
Source: NHS Choices