THE LADY IN THE MASK
In October 1999, Pam’s life as a financial advisor was turned on its head when she was involved, and severely injured, in the Paddington Rail Crash. Two trains collided head on at a combined crash speed of 130mph.
31 people were killed, and 227 were taken to hospital – Pam amongst them. Her injuries were so serious that she wasn’t expected to pull through.
Not only did she pull through, she underwent scores of operations to help rebuild her badly burned body and endured wearing a plastic mask over her face for 23 hours of each day over the ensuing 18 months. She became the public face of the disaster – ‘the lady in the mask’.
Following the crash, Pam became the leading spokesperson for improving rail safety. Her battle saw her lock horns with rail management executives and government ministers - eventually bringing down Transport Secretary Stephen Byers MP for lying in the House of Commons – as well as being smeared by Prime Minister Tony Blair. She was dubbed a trouble maker, but in fact her tenacity helped bring about massive changes in rail safety.
Over a decade on, having suffered a turbulent marriage along with mental and physical scars from the crash, Pam no longer regards herself as a victim. She uses her experiences to help others who have been affected by disfigurement or burns and has become an inspiration to many.
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