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Roadside fundraising dancer knocked over

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: October 05, 2012

Ben Hammond, from Bradford on Avon, was attempting to dance from John O'Groats to Lands End when he was knocked over

A teacher aiming to dance the length of the country was recovering last night after being hit by an alleged drink driver as he danced along a road in Somerset.

Ben Hammond suffered concussion and his support rider was also injured when they were struck by a car on the A39 in Polsham late on Wednesday night.

That day, the Western Daily Press had reported on his epic mission to dance from John O’Groats to Lands End to raise awareness and money for the plight of the oppressed people of Burma.

Mr Hammond, from Bradford on Avon in Wiltshire, spent a year teaching at a refugee camp on the edge of Burma and said he was dancing the length of the country to highlight the fact he was free to do so, while the people of Burma have little freedom.

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The dancer arrived in the West earlier this week, danced through Bristol and Bath on Tuesday and ended up in his hometown of Bradford on Avon. On Wednesday he danced into Somerset and was due to end the day in Glastonbury.

By around 10pm, he was nearing the town, and had just left Wells. With his friend Alice Tanswell riding a support tricycle behind, the pair were passing the Camelot Inn at Polsham, when they were struck by a passing car.

“It was quite horrible really. I was standing outside in the courtyard having just finished my shift and I heard a bang, looked up and saw what had happened,” said Dale Scott, the pub’s assistant manager.

“I think he was knocked out at first, but came round. The girl was screaming. I tried to calm them down and stop them moving. Ben was more concerned about Alice so he got up, which was worrying,” he added.

Ms Tanswell was also taken to hospital but released later with minor injuries.

The future of Ben’s wacky mission was uncertain last night. He was due to dance from Glastonbury to Taunton yesterday, and scheduled to make it to Lands’ End on October 13.

“Ben has suffered concussion and can’t continue the journey at this stage,” said his mum Judith. “He’s ok and hopefully will be released from hospital soon to come back to Bradford on Avon to recover.

“He’s devastated as he had completed the majority of the journey and was due to finish next week,” she added.

A spokesman for Dance Britain said Mr Hammond was still feeling the effects of the crash, but was expected to be discharged from Yeovil District Hospital within hours.

“He’s sitting up in hospital, on his iPad, so he’s ok,” she said.

“He’s got a pretty bad headache, and lots of bruises. He’s got bad cuts on his back and concussion.

“He’s very, very keen to get back on with the dancing, but the trike is pretty much a write-off. We’re not sure when he’ll be back,” she added.

A 25-year-old woman from Wookey in Somerset has since been arrested and charged with drink driving, failing to stop at the scene of an accident and failing to report an accident. She has been bailed to appear before South Somerset magistrates on October 19.

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