'I thought I was dead when a 20kg castle slab fell 30ft and shattered on my head'

Esther Clyne, 54, believes she cheated death at Featherstone Castle in Northumberland
Esther Clyne, 54, believes she cheated death at Featherstone Castle in Northumberland

A woman cheated death after a huge stone slab weighing 20kg fell from a castle wall onto her head.

Esther Clyne, 54, was enjoying a friend’s 70th birthday party at Featherstone Castle in Northumberland when she was hit by the stray slab. The mum-of-two thought she’d died when the stone square tumbled over 30ft from a doorway and shattered on her head.

Esther, from Manchester, said she was lucky to be alive, but the near fatal incident has caused long-lasting side effects. And she said four years on he still suffers from bouts of dizziness, memory loss and lack of balance.

Esther, who works in a school and helps run a charity, said: “It felt like a slab fell on my head. My head was just ringing and it was really loud. It was a few minutes before I realised and then the blood started rushing. This slab had slid off and hit me directly on my head. I thought I was dead.

“There was a woman looking directly at me when it happened. She was crying her eyes out. She couldn’t believe I was alive. The ambulance man couldn’t believe I was alive. The injuries that I had. They instantly couldn’t believe how well I was. They said I shouldn’t be here. I'm definitely lucky to be alive.”

Esther said she was at a 70th birthday party for my friend at the time in December 2019.

She added: "It was early hours and I was going to bed. It was such a freaky thing happened. A woman I met that night said a marquee had blown up and smashed a window.

“I was on my way to bed, someone told me to see what happened outside. Reluctantly I went out. My son Leon was beside me and as I stepped out the doorway I thought a bomb had gone off. It felt like I'd been hit by a bus. It was an almighty noise and my whole body shunted down. Luckily I was stood straight."

Esther says the impact has changed her life and worsened her current Myalgic encephalomyelitis symptoms.

She said: “I was left debilitated because of the dizziness and the pain. I spent thousands on professional medical treatments and therapy.

“It left like a deep hole. They stuck glue on my head, I thought I was going to die. I was convinced, I thought I had a brain bleed because of the impacts. I slept sat up for weeks. If I heard a bang I'd be cringing. It gave me ME-like symptoms. Dizzy and fuzzy, my memory was shot completely. My balance went, I was dropping things.

“My osteopath has given me a brace because my neck hurts. He calls me Saint Esther, he said it’s a miracle. That could’ve been my life taken."

Featherstone Castle has been cleared of any blame in relation to the incident after court proceedings.

The castle has been contacted for comment.