THOUSANDS of pounds has been raised for two cousins left fighting for their lives on ventilators after an explosion at a pub.

April Charlesworth was out celebrating her 28th birthday with her cousin Ashleigh Charlesworth, 27, when the explosion happened in the outside area of the King's Head pub, in Great Cornard.

April, a former Colchester Institute student, was rushed to Bury St Edmunds Hospital before being put to sleep and transferred to Queen Victoria Hospital in London.

She was put on a ventilator and woke up four days later with serious burns to her neck, hands and face.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Burns - April's burns following the explosion

Ashleigh, a children's nurse from Colchester, was taken to Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford and was on a ventilator for two days.

She suffered burns on her face, chest and hands from the explosion.

After waking up from an induced coma, April said she has been having panic attacks and flashbacks of the painful incident.

April said: “I just remember me and Ashleigh being on fire.

“I had someone chuck a bottle of wine over me and then I was taken to the toilet and had water splashed all over me.”

Doctors have given April donor skin while her own recovers, but the full extent of her injuries are not yet known.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Nurse - Ashleigh at her graduation 

She said: “I am in constant pain. Some days are harder and some days are better than others.

“I have been having panic attacks since it happened.

“I do not remember going to sleep and I was very confused when I woke up.

April moved from Colchester to Sudbury four-years-ago with her young son Franklin Avery, now seven.

She is support worker for Your Life Care Solutions but will not be able to return to work for some time.

Ashleigh worked as a paediatric nurse at Colchester Hospital before moving to Virgin Care.

She has needed a skin graft on her hands and has to wear a special face mask to help heal her facial burns and prevent potential infection.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Incident - the King's Head, in Suffolk, where the accident happened 

Her father Paul Charlesworth said: "They were badly burned and taken to hospital.

“Ashleigh was put on a ventilator for two days and needed operations on her hands."

The 55-year-old, from Colchester, said it is too early to tell how what degree burns Ashleigh has suffered.

Suffolk Police say no arrests have been made but a man has been voluntarily interviewed regarding the incident. A spokesman said enquiries are ongoing.

Fundraising pages have been launched to support the recovery of Ashleigh and April, with more than £7,000 raised so far.

Ashleigh's Go Fund Me page can be found via, and April's is here,