A DIY enthusiast had a lucky escape after impaling himself with a screwdriver whilst trying to fix a novelty ornament at his Wivenhoe home.

Neil Diggens was using some well-earned time off from work to spruce up the garden at his Field Way home.

But whilst attempting to replace the batteries on a solar light, shaped like a meerkat, a stubborn screw got the better of him.

Putting too much pressure for the meerkat to take, Mr Diggens pushed his screwdriver through and out the other side of his left hand.

The 58-year-old said: “I couldn’t get the screws off with my small screwdriver so I went inside and got my proper one, which is about a foot long.

“I put pressure on to the screw and the screwdriver went through the battery pack and out the other side.

“I shouted in pain and when I looked round I realised I had the other end of the screwdriver coming out the back of my hand. I just said to Julia my wife ‘we need to go to the hospital’.”

With the screwdriver, and meerkat, still attached the couple jumped in the car and sped towards Colchester Hospital.

They dialled the 111 helpline service on the way who booked them an appointment to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Mr Diggens said: “When we arrived at the hospital it was just starting to hurt.

“A doctor came in with two nurses and a couple of other trainees.

"By this time the pain was really kicking in so they gave me some morphine and gas and air.

“They did a movement test to see what damage had been done but they found it had gone straight through between the two fingers.

"The doctor then just grabbed it and pulled it out.”

Amazingly the screwdriver missed all the nerves in Mr Diggens’ hand.

“It really was extremely lucky. I could have damaged my fingers or hand for life,” he said.

“If it had been a centimetre either way it could have been bad.”

He added: “It hasn’t put me off doing DIY or being in the garden. The next day I was back out there and so was the meerkat.”