A senior fire officer has issued a safety warning after his 13-year-old daughter’s life was saved by a cycle helmet.

Hannah Ansell was thrown 20 metres into the air when her bike collided with a van in Poole.

But she escaped serious injury thanks to her helmet, which was damaged in the incident.

Her relieved father, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Ben Ansell, has now urged others to follow her example.

The collision took place near Beechbank Avenue as Hannah cycled from her home in Broadstone to Parkstone Grammar School on Tuesday May 13.

Police and paramedics attended and Hannah was taken by ambulance to Poole Hospital. She suffered minor injuries and is now recovering at home.

Mr Ansell, who is Dorset Fire and Rescue’s strategic lead for road safety, said: “In my time in the fire service I have seen lots of road traffic collisions, but I felt I needed to share my personal experience in the hope that others can learn from it.

“I know that had Hannah not been wearing her helmet on Tuesday morning, this could be a totally different incident – her helmet really did save her life. I would urge all cyclists to make sure they have the proper protective clothing including a well fitted helmet.”

He added: “I would also like to thank the police officers, paramedics, nurses and doctors who looked after Hannah. In particular, I would like to praise the actions of a GP doctor who came to Hannah’s aid and ensured that she was not moved before the arrival of the emergency services”.