A schoolboy’s foot “melted like wax” after he stepped on hot sand where a disposable barbecue had been sitting on the beach.
Will Tyler was left temporarily unable to walk and in need of a skin graft after the incident at Formby Beach in Merseyside.
The youngster, who was then aged nine, had gone on a day trip to the beach with his parents Toby and Claire, and his sister Lily last summer
The family, along with their friends the Morley family, were visiting from Stockport, and had deliberately hiked across the sand dunes to avoid the crowds.
This meant Will’s dad was forced run across the dunes carrying his injured son for 20 minutes in the summer heat back to the car so his mum could get him to hospital in the June 1, 2020 incident.
They set up a disposable barbecue to enjoy some sausage sandwiches, and then once the barbecue had cooled, moved it to one side, far away from the children, so the youngsters could run around and play.
Will’s dad Toby said : “Everyone I’ve told this story to just cannot believe how sand can stay that hot.
“We’d used one of those disposable barbecues where the coals are in a foil tray. The bottom of the tray was on the sand, which I now know meant the heat was being sent down into the sand and the foil surface was trapping it there.
“When we moved the barbecue, the top of the sand cooled, but underneath it was still roasting hot as the heat had just been trapped there. We learned later it can stay dangerously hot for hours and hours.
“The kids were running around playing when suddenly Will just screamed.
“As a parent, it’s the worst sound I’d ever heard and it’s a sound I’ll never forget.
“He pulled his foot out of the sand and his skin was peeling off his foot like melted wax.
“By the time I carried him to the car I was I was soaking wet with sweat. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it but seeing Will’s foot….I guess the adrenaline just kicked in.”
Mum Claire drove Will to a nearby hospital before he was taken to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
From there it was a slow recovery process, initially spending nine days and eight nights in hospital unable to have visitors other than his mum, and in a lot of pain.
Will had to have a skin graft from his right thigh to his left foot and was given morphine, gas and air to help him get through the pain.
Once home, Will’s recovery was far from over and he relied on a wheelchair at first, before progressing to a walking frame and crutches and eventually was able to walk unaided again.
He still has to wear compression socks 23 hours a day and a splint at night, as well as moisturising his skin and massaging the skin to reduce bumps in the scar tissue.
Toby continued: “He has fun with it – he calls it his ‘bacon’ because that’s what it looks like.
“As he’s still growing we’re not sure if there will be operations in future. But for now he is recovering well and he’s lucky that he has some close friends that have been really great at supporting him.”
The family have shared their story as Will, now 10, is fundraising for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital – where he is still attending appointments all these months on after his injury.
He said: “I wanted to do some fundraising themed around the number eight because that’s how many nights I was in the children’s hospital.
“It was really difficult because it was last year during lockdown so my sister Lily and my dad weren’t able to visit me, I was only with my mum.
“But all the nurses were nice to me and everyone on the ward was really kind.”
Part of Will’s fundraising efforts saw him and 20 other people take part in an 8km walk on Formby Beach on Tuesday.
Other activities include an 8km paddle in the River Mersey and eight friends having their heads shaved.