Matt Wilks with his 'lucky hat'. Picture by Robin Crossley.
A STUDENT struck twice by lightning has lived to tell the tale, thanks to a £3 novelty hat bought for a fancy dress pub crawl.
Matt Wilks, 19, was wearing the Ebay umbrella hat when he was hit by two separate bolts of lightning in Thursday's storm.
He suffered dizzy spells and an elevated heart rate following his ordeal, but was unharmed and believes the hat probably saved his life.
"I had gone into the garden to show my mum the hat, which had just arrived in the post, when it happened. It felt weird, like being hit on the head really hard," said Matt, who lives at Gatehouse Road, Ryde with parents Paul and Helen Wilks.
"There was this bright flash as a fork of lightning splintered above us, and that's when I felt it hit me.
"There was so much static electricity in the air, it was really scary.
"Just before that, a bolt of lightning had leapt from the metal garden gate and hit me like an electric shock.
|Matt Wilks with his £3 novelty hat that was struck by lightning. Picture by Robin Crossley. |
"At 6ft 4ins I was the tallest thing in the field and the lightning probably would have hit me no matter what, so the fact the hat took the brunt of it probably saved me from being electrocuted.
"It's kind of embarrassing to think a fancy dress hat saved my life, and it's only now everything has sunk in that I realise how lucky I was.
"I went to St Mary's to be checked over and one of the doctors at A&E said I should buy a lottery ticket."
The 'lucky hat' also escaped relatively unscathed, and Matt will wear it as planned to Ryde Rugby Club's 'pub golf' crawl.