Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Man gored by bull at Spanish festival
A MAN from Westcliff is in hospital after being gored by a bull in Spain.
Liam Tarff, 29, was taking part in the San Fermin Running of the Bulls Festival, in Pamplona.
Mr Tarff travelled in a camper van with five friends last Thursday to take part in Monday’s festival, in which thousands of men run with rampaging bulls.
He suffered a deep wound to his left leg and is expected to remain in hospital, in Spain, until at least the weekend.
Speaking from his hospital bed, he said: “It was a feeling of sheer panic when I saw the bull stop, turn round and run towards me.
“I was trapped against the barriers with people crowded around me and no fast way out.
“I felt its horn go through my leg. It was like being stabbed with a large knife.”
Paul Edwards, from Leigh, was one of the friends who went with him and called his parents – Evelyn and Terry Tarff, of Henley Crescent, Westcliff – to tell them the news.
Mrs Tarff, 60, a payroll manager, said: “It was all a bit surreal.
“His friend Paul called to tell us not to panic, but Liam had been ‘clipped’ by a bull.
“When he said he would spend five days in hospital, I realised it must have been more than a clip.
“Then people started sending me pictures.
“It was odd, because we were fairly calm as we knew he was all right, but later I started to get quite emotional as what happened hit me.”
Mrs Tarff said the whole episode was out of character for her son, who was not much of a daredevil.
She added: “He’s normally a quiet lad, but sometimes he can surprise us.”
Mr Tarff and another man, Nick Couchman, 20, who wasn’t with his group of friends, were injured when the half-ton bull, Runaway, broke away from the other animals.
Despite his injury, Mr Tarff managed to give a thumbs-up to the crowd as he was carried away on a stretcher with a blood-soaked bandage around his leg.
Dad Terry, 62, chairman of governors at Chase High School, Westcliff, which Liam attended, said his son, who lives in Brixton, south London, was lucky to be alive.
He said: “Boys will be boys, I suppose, and if you are going to get gored, then a leg is probably a better place for it to happen.
“His friends, who are all from the Southend area, are with him. They are all due home on Friday or Saturday, so they are hoping to bring Liam with them.
“It will be far easier for him to stretch out in the camper van, rather than being on a plane, but they are trying to persuade the Spanish hospital of that at the moment.”