PARAMEDICS were dispatched to Thornbury last week after a ‘panicked’ 15-year-old Castle School student was bitten by a snake.

Year 10 pupil Jessica Astley had been walking through the long grass on the school field with her friends last Wednesday when she suddenly felt a sharp scratch on her foot.

Looking down, she noticed she was bleeding, and quickly went to the medical room.

When it was cleaned up, it was apparent there was swelling around two puncture marks – clear evidence of a snake bite.

“When I got bitten I wasn’t really thinking anything,” said Jess, “but when I went to the medical room it suddenly hit me that I had been bitten by a snake.

“I was really panicked, I didn’t know what was going on. It was a throbbing feeling but at the same time there was a lot of pain.

“It swelled up around the bite, which the doctors told me wouldn’t have happened unless the venom went in.”

The school immediately contacted emergency services who gave guidance to the staff while paramedics were dispatched, arriving and administering anti-venom.

Jess’ mum Jane Coombes then took her to Southmead Hospital’s A&E department, where she was kept for a few hours for monitoring before being discharged.

Geography teacher Dr Andy Grant, who happened to be in the student centre when Jess was receiving treatment, said: “As I saw it I knew right away it was an adder bite.

“I’ve been here 23 years and nothing like this has ever happened before.

“Having said that, it does look like perfect adder territory down there, grassland on the edge of woodland, and given they travel fairly widely at this time of year, it is probably just a defensive bite.

“Jess was very brave through the whole thing and remained pretty calm. We are very glad to see she is ok.

“The paramedics who came said they had never had a single callout for a snake bite, but they were very reassuring and made the whole situation much less stressed than it could have been.”

Mum Jane, who had been in the Mall when she received the call and said she was “probably more panicked’ than her daughter, thanked the school and the paramedics for handling the situation as well as they did.

"They were fantastic,” she said, “they took care of it brilliantly. Dr Grant had gone off to search for the snake, while the paramedics kept her perfectly calm despite telling me they were worried she could have gone into anaphylactic shock."