AFTER being a bellringer at her village church for 50 years, Jenny Jeskins never imagined her hobby would one day leave her with two fractured hips and a broken wrist.

Mother-of-two Mrs Jeskins, the bell-ringing captain at St Mary’s Church, Cholsey, visited the church last month to fix a fraying bell rope.

But she took a tumble off the bell frame and fell three feet to the floor, fracturing her hips and right wrist.

Mrs Jeskins’ husband John, 73, raised the alarm and firefighters from Didcot and Kidlington, began the delicate task of lowering her down from the bell tower on a stretcher.

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Oxford Mail:

Jenny Jeskins is winched to safety by firefighters after falling in the bell tower and breaking both hips and her right wrist. Pictures: Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Grandmother-of-three Mrs Jeskins said: “I had a horrific accident in our bell chamber.

I had intended to repair one of the ringing ropes because it was fraying, but missed my footing when stepping back off the bell frame and fell about three feet.

“The ambulance arrived within 15 minutes and no way were the two ambulance crews going to get me down from the bell chamber as we were at the top of the tower some 50ft up.”

Oxford Mail:

A firefighter ensures the stretcher is kept steady.

Former physiotherapist Mrs Jeskins, now recovering at home, said firefighters from Didcot and a rescue team from Kidlington took over the rescue operation.

She added: “The only way out of the tower was through the bell trap doors in the floor which had not been accessed for more than 40 years.

Oxford Mail:

Mrs Jeskins begins her descent.

“I was on morphine when I was on the stretcher so I was on cloud nine, but I was in safe hands. I have had a hip replacement on the right, a dynamic hip-screw fitted on the left, and a plaster on my wrist. The emergency and hospital staff were magnificent and, after four days in intensive care and two weeks in the trauma unit, I was transferred to Wallingford Community Hospital.”

Oxford Mail:

Mrs Jeskins was lowered from a 50 ft bell tower.

Didcot station officer Bob Speakman, who took part in the rescue operation, said: “Mrs Jeskins fell quite a few feet from some lattice iron work onto a wooden floor.

It was lucky her husband was with her, otherwise she would have been marooned.”

Mrs Jeskins said people from the church and around the village had been supportive since her fall on February 5. She has not yet returned to bell-ringing as she cannot climb the bell tower steps.

Crime writer Agatha Christie, who lived at Winterbrook for many years, is buried in the church graveyard.