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Swale council to check all outdoor gym equipment after girl gets finger caught in Lovell Road running machine

By Ellis Stephenson

Council officers are to review all outdoor gym equipment across Swale after a girl nearly lost her finger at a park in Minster.

Last week, the Sheerness Times Guardian reported how 11-year-old Summer Saward, of Willis Court in Minster, had to undergo specialist surgery after sustaining the horrific injury on a static running machine in Lovell Road.

The Oasis Academy pupil was trying to steady the equipment to stop a friend from falling when her finger was mangled by a bolt on May 25. She will have to undergo further treatment on Monday after the nail was ripped out and nail bed was damaged.

Summer Saward before her procedure
Summer Saward before her procedure

WARNING: Graphic image below

The bolt should have been protected by a rubber seal.

The equipment, which Swale council believes was vandalised before the accident, has since been removed. Now the authority has pledged to inspect similar gym machines across the borough to prevent further injuries.

A spokesman said: "Our leisure team is currently working with our health and safety officer to investigate an accident at the Lovell Road open space.

"It is regularly inspected, with repairs undertaken as required.

The faulty equipment in Lovell Road
The faulty equipment in Lovell Road

"We understand this item of outdoor gym equipment had been vandalised the day before the accident and are investigating to see if this contributed to the accident occurring.

"Following this incident we are re-inspecting all outdoor gym equipment across Swale as a precautionary measure."

The injured finger
The injured finger

Summer’s mum, Danielle Howells, who believes the park has been neglected, said: "I have spoken out about this to get the equipment removed and make people aware and it worked.

"Summer wanted it public as it could have been her little sister or cousins. She has prevented several accidents from this so it’s made us proud. There is no compensation claim, if people think all this is for a poxy £500 they could not be more wrong."

Read more: All the latest news from Sheerness

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