Countryfile host and Sammi Kinghorn reflects on life-altering accident

Countryfile host Sammi Kinghorn

Sammi Kinghorn, a double Paralympic medallist and the newest presenter of Countryfile has opened up the accident that left her paralysed from the waist down.

Sammi and dad Neill appeared on Loose Women this week, recounting the events of 2 December 2010.

“I sort of remember it as though it was yesterday,” Sammi said, describing the heavy snowfall on their farm and her youthful naivety at the time.

The accident happened when Sammi, then fourteen, playfully walked in front of her father’s forklift. “You were beeping your horn and kind of laughing,” she recalled, admitting she jumped onto the forklift despite being advised against it. The incident led to her feeling “the pressure on the back of my neck and feeling my back go.”

Neill described his initial unawareness of the situation until he saw Sammi in a pile of snow. “What have I done?” he remembered thinking, as they later learned the extent of Sammi’s injuries.

Reflecting on her early days in a wheelchair, Sammi admitted, “I genuinely thought I was going to be stuck in bed forever because I’d never seen anyone in a wheelchair.”

Sammi Kinghorn and her dad

This belief led her to plan a life confined to bed, but receiving a wheelchair changed her outlook: “I remember thinking, ‘This is so much better than being stuck in bed’ because obviously it’s disabled equipment but it enabled me to get out of bed.”

Sammi also shared her initial aspirations and how her accident steered her towards sports. “I never wanted to be a sportsperson growing up, I loved animals and wanted to be a Zoologist,” she said.

However, after attending the Spinal Unit Games, she was captivated by wheelchair racing. “Seeing a girl go round in a racing chair and just being speechless,” she described, “I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to be better than I was before’.”

The journey to becoming a decorated Paralympian was fraught with challenges, including convincing her parents to invest in a racing chair and finding a qualified coach. Neill reflected on these difficulties and his daughter’s remarkable achievements, feeling immense pride at her World Championship performances.

As for her venture into television, Sammi described her surprise at being approached for Countryfile.

“I just got a phone call like, ‘Is this something you’d like to do?’ I was just like, ‘Are you joking?’” she recalled. “I had no experience, I had no idea but honestly I think I could listen to anybody as long as they’re passionate enough and it’s just amazing.

“It’s something that I was brought up watching with my dad so I find it a bit strange when I’m on it, especially to watch the weather, that was always the big one. It’s amazing and presenting is something that I love doing and would love to do more of.”

Loose Women airs weekdays from 12:30PM on ITV1 & ITVX.