MARTIN Exley had a bigger reason than many to celebrate the New Year.

The Ludgershall man believes he was lucky to see 2013 after he was involved in a serious car accident just weeks previously.

He has now thanked the passers-by and emergency services for helping him to escape the wreckage after he was trapped inside as the car rolled over.

The 23-year-old was driving along Weyhill Road to see a friend in Andover when he saw another car in his path.

Shop worker Mr Exley swerved his Peugeot 206, which hit the bank of the road and rolled.

Fortunately motorists and staff from the nearby Bell Inn ran to his rescue and managed to drag shocked Mr Exley, of Short Street, out of his car.

He said: “My car hit the bank and this caused it to flip/roll as I was in it. I’m not quite sure what happened but my car ended up on the roof.

“Within seconds I could hear voices outside the car asking me if I was OK and telling me not to panic.

“Thankfully someone had a golf club in their car and they managed to smash one of the windows then helped me to crawl out of the wreckage.

“By some miracle I have managed to walk away from this accident alive.”

Paramedics attended to Mr Exley for an hour on Saturday, 8 December while staff at The Bell Inn supplied everyone with cups of tea and coffee, including Mr Exley’s mum Debbie, who had rushed to be with her son when she heard about the crash.

Mr Exley went to the doctor two days later and was diagnosed with severe whiplash and was signed off work for a week He said: “I appreciate I was lucky to walk away from that.

“The fire brigade said on the night they thought they would be pulling out a body.”

Mrs Exley told the Advertiser about her son’s lucky escape from more serious injuries, adding: “It was like Christmas had come early.”

Mr Exley said: “I just wanted to show my gratitude to all of the people who stopped and helped, and most of all the people from The Bell Inn who took me inside and took care of me until the paramedics arrived. In particular, the three people who helped me were Deano Thomas, Simon James and Karen Spanswick.

“I would also like to send my thanks to the fire brigade, the police and Glyn the paramedic who helped me and put me at ease.”

A police spokeswoman said: “Officers are continuing with enquiries to establish the cause of the accident. Anyone with information should contact Pc Saunby at Andover police station by calling 101.”