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Athlete Lesley Hall hit by cyclist on pavement in Canterbury Road, Kennington

A talented athlete suffered fractures across her entire face and arms after she was hit by a man cycling on the pavement.

Lesley Hall was walking towards Ashford's town centre along Canterbury Road in Kennington when she was struck by the man, who fled the scene and is now being hunted by police.

Lesley Hall is one of the UK's top racewalkers in her age bracket
Lesley Hall is one of the UK's top racewalkers in her age bracket

Despite wearing a flashing armband and hi-vis jacket, the 63-year-old was knocked into the path of oncoming traffic, where a passing man knelt beside her and called an ambulance.

The racewalker said: "A cyclist was on the path and came straight towards me - that's the last thing I remember until I woke up on the road.

"He obviously must have given me a real clout as I think I was spun around and facing the opposite direction to the one I was walking.

"The comment I heard from him was 'you're alright, get up'.

"I didn't attempt to because I knew I wasn't alright."

The incident happened in Canterbury Road, Kennington, close to the Harvester and Holiday Inn
The incident happened in Canterbury Road, Kennington, close to the Harvester and Holiday Inn

After Miss Hall was knocked to the floor during the incident, on Tuesday, February 18, a passing van stopped near her and a woman - who later transpired to be a nurse - rushed to her aid.

"She looked at my face and shined a torch at it," Miss Hall said.

"She then took the man's phone and said 'I'm a nurse, my dad's here and we're taking her in the van to the hospital'.

"They put me in the van and they took me all the way to A&E.

"If I knew who they were, I'd like to say thank you to them as they were absolutely brilliant."

When the self-employed sports masseuse arrived at the William Harvey Hospital, she was to learn that her troubles were only just beginning.

"My lifestyle's been completely messed up, I usually train twice a day..."

The Willesborough homeowner said: "My left wrist was broken and dislocated - at the time they put it back in place and set it in plaster but the next morning they phoned to say the wrist's not stable.

"So they operated on it on Thursday, during which they pinned and plated it before putting it in plaster.

"My right arm between my elbow and wrist, that was slit open and they physically had to stitch it together.

"My eye socket, cheek bone and jaw have multiple fractures and breaks.

"My bruising's still there but at least the swelling is going down so I can actually open my eye.

"I'm only on liquid and soft food as I can't put any pressure on my teeth or jaw."

Lesley Hall pictured in 2010 with her bronze medal from the European veterans' championships
Lesley Hall pictured in 2010 with her bronze medal from the European veterans' championships

It's not known how long the recovery period will be, and Miss Hall notes "they are looking at facial reconstruction - some breaks they think might heal by themselves but some are so severe and they are out of place".

The injuries have forced the former teacher of 25 years to completely change her lifestyle.

An avid racewalker, she's represented England and Great Britain in the sport and works in sports massage and therapy.

Last year, she speed-walked 5,000 metres in just over 33 minutes at the British Masters Championship, winning gold in the veteran-60 women's category.

She said: "I can't work at the moment because I've got one arm in plaster and the other in a bandage, but I'll get back to working as soon as possible.

"I'm also an athlete so it's affecting my training and I won't be competing for a while.

Lesley Hall pictured at the Julie Rose Stadium in 2002
Lesley Hall pictured at the Julie Rose Stadium in 2002

"The doctor said 'don't run because it'll make your jaw unstable' - the thought had never even crossed my mind that could happen.

"My lifestyle's been completely messed up, I usually train twice a day.

"I'm trying to do as much as I can - stretches and the like - but I can't even go into a swimming pool.

"I can't get the plaster wet and I absolutely can't risk the several cuts in my arm getting infected."

The culprit has still not been identified, but a police investigation has been launched.

A police spokesman said: "We were contacted on Wednesday, February 19 following an incident in Canterbury Road, Ashford on Tuesday, February 18.

"A woman was walking near the junction with Cemetery Lane about 6pm when a cyclist on a bike collided with her and she was injured.

"The cyclist reportedly failed to stop at the scene.

"Inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the incident are ongoing."

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 01843 222289, quoting 19-0440.

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